The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) is delighted to reveal the winners of the LATA Achievement Awards, announced on Monday 11 June at B2B travel conference Experience Latin America (ELA).
Now in its 8th edition, the LATA Achievement Awards recognises individuals and/or companies who have made an exceptional contribution to the development of travel to Latin America.
Voted for by a judging panel led by AITO Chairman Derek Moore and including Aneil Bedi, M&C Saatchi; Barbara Kolosinska, C&M Recruitment; Quinn Meyer, CREES Manu and Danny Callaghan, LATA, the LATA Achievement Awards celebrate and reward initiatives and efforts made by the tourism industry to bring the Latin American region closer to the UK.
The winners are announced below:
CRUISE OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Runner-up: Aqua Expeditions
Aqua Expedition was recognised for combining high-quality accommodation with immersive Amazon experiences such as their recently launched 2018 hosted departures.
Australis was awarded for providing an unforgettable cruise experience that includes travelling to some of the most remote regions of the world such as Cape Horn. The tours have resulted in outstanding customer satisfaction rates.
PRODUCT LAUNCH OF THE YEAR AWARD
Runner-up: Maya Trails
Maya Trails was recognised for identifying the glamping market as one that has potential growth in Latin America, and for developing a tour called the ‘Mayan Community Glamping Trek’ that combines trekking in Guatemala with overnight stays in luxurious accommodation.
Belmond was awarded for launching the first-ever luxury sleeper train in Latin America: the Belmond Andean Explorer. The trip takes guests to over 4,000 metres above sea level and travels through areas of the Andes that are not usually accessible to tourists, whilst offering in the epitome of luxury.
AIRLINE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Runner-up: Norwegian Airlines
Norwegian Airlines was recognised for successfully disrupting the well-established Latin American aviation scene by launching its low-cost service to Buenos Aires and for creating an internal flight network servicing 72 Latin American destinations, opening up the destination to European travellers.
Winner: Air Europa
Air Europa was awarded for its continent-wide support and for the introduction of the new 22 Dreamliner aircraft, demonstrating that the airline is investing heavily into its long-haul business, with the benefit of reduced fuel usage, fewer emissions and less noise pollution.
Runner-up: Aqua Expeditions
Aqua Expeditions recognises that its employees are at the heart of the business and has developed a number of company schemes to ensure staff satisfaction. Some of the company’s initiatives include offering child benefits to all employees, and a ‘School for Parents’ scheme providing support to staff with young families.
Winner: Audley Travel
Audley Travel was awarded for going above and beyond to offer excellent training opportunities to its sales team with the aim of developing their product knowledge. For example, the company introduced an induction scheme during which staff are hosted in Latin America as a guest for one month. The programme has delivered impressive results with productivity up by 20%.
HOTEL OF THE YEAR AWARD
Runner-up: Hacienda AltaGracia
Luxury Hotel Hacienda AltaGracia was recognised as one of the leading properties in Latin America offering a completely authentic Costa Rican experience. Visitors can engage with local communities and learn about traditional customs by joining a variety of programmes at the hotel.
Winner: EcoCamp Patagonia
EcoCamp Patagonia was awarded for being one of the few operations permitted in the Torres del Paine National Park. The property is based on the design of indigenous houses in geodesic domes that blend in with the landscape. 90% of the power is provided from solar and hydroelectric sources.
Highly Commended: Tierra Atacama
Tierra Atacama was highly commended for being the first hotel in South America to be 100% solar-powered, and for its exceptional sustainability measures including a water system that has eliminated all plastic bottles from the property.
Runner-up: Condor Travel
Condor Travel was recognised for its commitment to the environment and sustainable tourism highlighted by the creation of an NGO that manages the company’s social-environmental programme, and for its work with reforestation projects, and low-income families.
Winner: Amazon Nature Tours
Amazon Expedition Cruise Company, Amazon Nature Tours was awarded for its multi-faceted and strategic commitment to responsible tourism by ensuring operations have a minimal impact on the environment and for sharing the economic benefits of tourism with local communities.
MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Runner-up: Journey Latin America
Journey Latin America was recognised for its 2017 ‘TV and Cinema’ multi-platform campaign. The campaign showcased key aspects of Latin America, whilst being successful in raising awareness of the JLA brand and strategically targeting a specific demographic.
Winner: Cox and Kings
Cox & Kings was awarded for its 2017 co-marketing campaign with PromPeru that highlighted Peru’s central tourism attractions and resulted in a 150% uplift in unique page views on Cox & King’s Peru page on their website and a 30% increase in bookings made to the destination.
DMC / LOCAL TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Highly Commended: Vapues Tours
Vapues Tours was highly commended for its environmental and sustainable tourism efforts such as working with university students to teach them about the importance of the environment.
Runner-up: Cascada Expeditions
Cascada Expeditions was recognised for its efforts to offer guests a fully immersive Latin American experience by continuously seeking new programmes and developing new tours in lesser-known countries.
Winner: Peak DMC
Peak DMC was awarded for demonstrating its commitment to high-quality and safe tours by ensuring all staff receive real-life scenario training with paramedic instructors.
TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Runner-Up: Cox & Kings
Cox & Kings was recognised for its dedication to increasing tourism to Latin America from the UK, and for piloting travel to the region through joint marketing work with tourist boards, one of which resulted in a 30% increase in bookings to Peru.
Winner: Latin Routes
Latin Routes was awarded for its diverse growth strategy, resulting in a turnover growth of over 150% in the last three years, as well as its commitment to pushing sales through travel agents.