LONDON - Between July and September this year, 402,734 consumers cast 867,221 votes for their favourite travel companies, to determine the winners in the annual Awards, which are the largest UK consumer voted programme across any industry, not just travel.
The British Travel Award for Best UK Holiday County has been dominated by Cornwall winning in recent years, they lost out in 2018 but they’re back for 2019 reclaiming the title from surprise 2018 winner Northumberland, which has slipped back to the Silver Award, with the Peak District and Derbyshire awarded Bronze.
The Best UK Seaside Town BTA went to Bournemouth, with Bude in second place and Blackpool third.
The Best UK Leisure Attraction went for the first time to Longleat, followed by York Chocolate Story and the Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
After several years of winning the Silver BTA for The Best UK Heritage Attraction, Edinburgh Castle is now triumphant taking the Gold Award, followed by new entry Silver winner Windsor Castle.
In the battle of the tour operators, in the large company category, Newmarket Holidays swept the board winning an impressive seven Gold Awards, including Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company and Best Rail Holiday Company. James’ Villas won five Gold Awards and Saga and Virgin Holidays each won four Gold Awards.
In the medium sized category, Emirates Holidays and Titan Travel were pitching against each other and in the end they were neck and neck with eight Gold awards. Emirates Holidays’ awards included Best Luxury Holiday Company and Best Holiday Company to Austrasia but came out on top as the company was also declared overall category winner in six of their awards, for gaining more votes than the companies in the large and small tour operator categories. Titan Travel’s Gold Awards included Best Special Interest Company and Best Holiday Transfer Provider.
In the small tour operators category five companies did exceptionally well – not only for winning Gold awards but also being named overall category winner. The companies were Solos Holidays, named Best Singles Holiday Company; Martin Randall Travel, Best Special Interest Holiday Company; a first time winner Naturetrek, took Best Safari, Wildlife & Nature Travel Company; Journey Latin America, Best Holiday Company to Central & South America and Wendy Wu Tours, also a first time winner, was not only overall winner in Best Holiday Company to East & Central Asia but also small category winner winner of Best Holiday Company to Southeast Asia.
Best National Travel Retailer was won by Travel Counsellors and Best Independent Travel Agency was won by Stewart Travel in the medium category and Fleetway Travel in the small.
Best assisted / Accessible Holiday Company was a new award for 2019 and was won by Traveleyes, the Silver going to Enable Holidays and the Bronze to Limitless Travel.
In the airlines’ section Jet2 won Best Short Haul Airline from last year’s winner Easyjet; Emirates again won Best Long-haul Airline and also Best Business Class and Virgin Atlantic won Best Economy Class.
A Best Airport Category was introduced this year and the Gold awards were won by Birmingham Airport for Best Large UK Airport, Liverpool Airport took the Medium Airport and Doncaster Sheffield for Best Small UK Airport.
Celebrating for winning Gold for the tenth-year running is APH (Airport Parking & Hotels) winning Best Airport Parking Provider.
From planes to cars and for the third year running Avis won the BTA for Best Car Hire Provider.
The popular cruise sector awards saw Silversea pick up Best Ultra-Luxury Cruise Line and Best Specialist Cruise Line (Ocean & Expedition); P&O Cruises won Best Family Cruise Line and Viking Cruises Best River Cruise Line. P&O Ferries won Best Ferry / Mini Cruise Operator. Cruise Nation won Best Cruise Holiday Retailer.
In the hotel sector Accor brands Mercure Hotels won Best Midscale Plus Hotel Brand and ibis Hotels won Best Midscale / Economy Hotel Brand. Best Luxury Hotels was awarded to Marriott and Best Upscale Hotel Brand to Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts.
In other awards the Post Office won Best Foreign Exchange / Travel Money Retailer.
The new award The Teletext Best Travel Blogger Award was won by Bigworldsmallpockets.com, with twinsthattravel.com taking the Silver Award. Silver Travel Advisor won the Best Travel Review / Ratings Website and National Geographic Traveller (UK) won Best Consumer Holiday Magazine.
British Travel Awards’ CEO Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “The British Travel Awards are voted for entirely by the travelling public and 2019 was a fantastic year for consumer engagement with registered voters up 20% on 2018 and the number of votes cast increased by 15% to 867,221. Competition was fierce across many of the categories and this year’s winners should be very proud – congratulations to all winners and thank you to everyone who took the trouble to vote.”