Top Tourism Awards for Devon, Denmark and Ecuador

The British Guild of Travel Writers’ annual tourism awards were announced last night on the eve of World Travel Market. The new Dartmoor Artisan Trail in Devon, England won in the UK & Ireland category; The Experience Centre at Kongernes Jelling (Home of the Viking Kings) in Denmark took top honours in the European category, while Mandari Panga Yasuni Jungle Expeditions, Yasuni National Park in Ecuador won in the Wider World category.

The elegant awards dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel was sponsored by The Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotions Bureau. The selected charity was The Joliba Trust.

Each tourism project has been completed within the past three years, each was nominated by a Guild member and selected via a secret ballot of the Guild’s 270 professional journalists, writers, editors, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers. The Guild members proposing a project were asked to evaluate the initiatives on the basis of tourism potential and benefit to the local community.


In the UK & IRELAND category, The Dartmoor Artisan Trail was named Best UK & Ireland Tourism Project for 2017 (nominated by Hilary Brandt @hilarybradt).

“The Dartmoor Artisan Trail is the brainchild of Devon resident and photographer Suzy Bennett. (This) self-guided trail links the most varied and interesting artisans: blacksmiths and beekeepers, painters and potters, woodturners and weavers, and many more.”

Twitter: @DartmoorArtisan

Facebook: @DartmoorArtisanTrail

Instagram: @dartmoor.artisan.trail

Highly commended is The Piece Hall, Halifax in West Yorkshire, England (nominated by Stuart Forster @goeatdo)

“ … originally opened in 1779 and is the UK’s last surviving cloth hall…The Piece Hall holds cultural and musical events and a film festival. Three of the spaces within the Georgian Hall tell the story of The Piece Hall’s origins and history. A number of the units hold independent or boutique stores while others host gourmet food outlets, so the attraction is a major job provider.”

Twitter: @ThePieceHall

Facebook: @thepiecehallhalifax

Instagram: @thepiecehall

Also Highly Commended is the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket, England (nominated by Gillian Thornton @TravelwithGt)

“Horseracing is Britain’s second most popular spectator sport … but not until last November did we have a visitor attraction that did it justice. Palace House … once home to Charles II … is Britain’s first gallery dedicated to sporting art, and not just racing art.”

Twitter: @palacehouse_nkt

Facebook: @palacehousenkt

Instagram: @palacehouse_nkt

Merit Awards have gone to the following, placing them among the top ten new tourism projects in the United Kingdom:

  • The Garden Museum, London, England
  • The Postal Museum, London, England
  • British Airways i360, Brighton, England
  • North Coast 500, Scotland
  • Puzzlewood App, Forest of Dean, England
  • The Writers’ Way, Hampshire, England
  • Ramblinns, East Sussex & Kent, England


The Winner for EUROPE is The Experience Centre at Kongernes Jelling

(Home of the Viking Kings) in Denmark (proposed by Gillian Thomas).

“Built beside the 1000 year-old burial mounds of two famous Vikings, Gorm the Old and Harold Bluetooth…It vividly brings to life Denmark’s bloody Viking history through highly imaginative special effects and interactive displays, cleverly using sounds and lights, holograms, pictures and artefacts. For instance in the Bonfire Room you sit around a fire to listen to Viking adventure stories – including how Bluetooth got his name….”

Twitter: @nationalmuseet

Facebook: @KongernesJelling

Instagram: @nationalmuseet

Highly Commended is the International Centre for Cave Art, Lascaux, France

(proposed by Gillian Thornton @TravelwithGt)

“France is rich In prehistoric painted caves but there is only one Lascaux …Sections were replicated at Lascaux II, and Lascaux III … Now there is Lascaux IV, a painstaking reproduction of the entire cave coupled with a high-tech discovery centre for global cave art… the cave (is) so real you forget it’s a replica.”

Twitter: @lascauxofficiel

Facebook: @LascauxOfficiel

Instagram: @lascauxofficiel

Also Highly Commended is The Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort, The Netherlands (proposed by Stuart Forster @goeatdo)

“… birthplace of artist Piet Mondrian (Mondriaan), a founding member of the De Stijl art and design movement….the house provides an informative overview of Mondrian’s life, the significance of the De Stijl movement … Displays are modern, attractively laid out and make effective use of multimedia. Mondrian’s works are shown to music in a 5-minute display across on 13 video units while another room conveys Mondrian’s mindset during the creation of his masterpiece, Victory Boogie Woogie.”

Twitter: @Mondriaanhuis1

Facebook: @Mondriaanhuis

Instagram: @mondriaanhuis

Merit Awards have gone to the following, placing them among the top 7 new tourism projects in Europe:

  • Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany
  • E-Grand Tour, Switzerland
  • Notre Dame Cathedral Crypt, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
  • La Plaine Au Bois Museum, Esquelbecq, France


The Winner of the WIDER WORLD category is Mandari Panga Yasuni Jungle Expeditions, Yasuni National Park in Ecuador (nominated by Adrian Phillips @adrianphillips1)

“This is a grass-roots project provides an alternative future for Ecuador’s Mandari Panga community in the face of pressure to sell oil drilling rights. Fredy Gualinga  … has built several thatched platforms for tents near his family home deep in pristine rainforest, from where he leads tourists into the jungle on foot and in dugout canoe. It’s a thrilling experience. There’s nobody else for miles about. The wildlife is extraordinary, from giant river otters to tarantulas…”

Highly commended is the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington DC, USA (proposed by Kathy Arnold)

“This tells the story of the USA…through African-American eyes. From slavery in Africa and Europe 500 years ago, it continues through Segregation and Civil Rights to President Obama. Exhibitions featuring Black achievements in sport, music, art and drama are easy viewing. Harder hitting are the shackles small enough for a child and an 1863 photo of a slave’s whip-scarred back. The dozen exhibitions on eight floors of the dramatic building demand a full day. For Black Americans, it is a validation of their history and culture. For me, it was an education. Put simply, this is the most important museum in Washington DC.”

Twitter: @nmaahc

Facebook: @NMAAHC

Instagram: @NMAAHC 

Also Highly Commended is the Centre ValBio, Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar (nominated by Sarah Tucker @Tuckersarah)

“Patricia Wright has trained locals to be guides and understand and share their knowledge of the rainforests. This makes the experience of the tourist much more authentic as you are shown around the rainforests by locals who live with the animals on a daily basis and understand the political, environment and social issues unique to the island and area. Patricia Wright also discovered a new species of lemur and believes there are many more to find.”

Twitter: @centrevalbio

Facebook: @centrevalbio

Instagram: @centrevalbio

Merit Awards have gone to the following, placing them among the top 9 new tourism projects visited by Guild members in the Wider World category:

  • Studio Bell, National Music Centre, Calgary, Canada
  • Coral Caye, Belize, Central America
  • Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, USA
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Canada
  • Boston Public Market, Boston, USA
  • Cloud Forest Climb, Nam Et-Phou Louey, Laos


The British Guild of Travel Writers: 40 years on

“For 40 years these awards have celebrated the diversity and creativity of tourism projects around the world, while emphasising the massive contribution they make to local economies,” said BGTW chairman Alastair McKenzie. “They also demonstrate what a rich resource the knowledgeable, well-travelled members of our 55-year-old organisation offer to commissioning travel editors.”

The BGTW ( also presented travel writing and photography awards, selected by an outside jury, to its own members during the evening, which was attended by 300 top travel industry and media representatives.

Note to editors:

Founded 55 years ago, the Guild consists of professional travel writers, editors, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers. Members of the BGTW provide stories and images for a variety of publications and organisations including:

Further information/photos: British Guild of Travel Writers’ Secretariat: [email protected], 020 8144 8713.


Benita Finanzio
By: Benita Finanzio Secretariat