The Latin American Travel Association (www.lata.travel) is delighted to announce the winners of the LATA Achievement Awards, revealed on Monday 10 June at leading B2B travel show Experience Latin America (ELA).
Now in its 9th edition, the LATA Achievement Awards recognise destinations, individuals and/or companies that have made exceptional contributions to the development of travel to Latin America, and reward initiatives and efforts made by the tourism industry to bring the region closer to the UK.
The winners of the LATA Achievement Awards were selected by a top-tier judging panel composed of key figures from the Latin American travel industry including Derek Moore; chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), Barbara Kolosinska; managing director of C&M Recruitment, Aneil Bedi; founder of Brand Agents, Quinn Meyer; founder of Crees Manu and LATA committee member, and Danny Callaghan; general manager of LATA.
The winners are announced below:
AIRLINE OF THE YEAR
Runner-up: Air Europa
Norwegian was awarded for bringing Latin America closer to the UK and for facilitating travel within the region with the launch of the direct route from London to Buenos Aires and the introduction of a local carrier in Argentina serving six destinations. Air Europa was awarded the runner-up spot for continually seeking to improve their service to Latin America with the launch of routes in Honduras, Brazil and Ecuador.
CRUISE OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Golden Galapagos Cruises
Runner-up: Galagents S.A
Highly commended: Australis
Golden Galapagos Cruises was awarded for the company’s strong growth during 2018, their commitment to a high-quality cruise experience and in particular, a scheme that has reduced plastic water bottle use by 25,000 bottles during a 12-month period. Galagents was awarded for its work in improving its guest experience, culinary offering and for working with local communities to improve the environment in operating areas.
SUSTAINABLE DESTINATION OF THE YEAR
Winner: Guyana Tourism Authority
Runner-up: Tierra del Volcan
Highly commended: Condor Travel, VIVID Travel, Steppes Travel and Metropolitan Touring
The Guyana Tourism Authority was awarded for its comprehensive approach to sustainable tourism and for launching a community-led framework and toolkit aimed at helping indigenous communities to access the benefits of tourism. Tierra del Volcan was awarded for its habitat restoration scheme that has been running since 1992.
HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Winner: andBeyond Vira Vira
Runner-up: Hotel Carlota
andBeyond Vira Vira was awarded for increasing permanent staff from 15 to 45, reducing seasonality of employment, helping to ensure that the local community sees the financial benefit, eliminating 99% of its plastic bottle use, ensuring that its carbon footprint is minimised through local sourcing of goods, and through using only certified sustainable wood pellets for heating. Hotel Carlota was awarded for immersing guests in the local community, encouraging guests to engage with local business, for introducing a comprehensive sustainability programme and reducing water use by 50%.
DESTINATION OF THE YEAR
Promperu was awarded for driving tourism to the destination by positioning Peru as a leader in gastronomy and for its work with the UK media to promote the destination to the trade and attending consumer events to reach potential visitors. No runner-up was selected in this category.
MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Winner: Quito Turismo
Runner-up: Expedia Group Media Solutions and Palace Resorts
Quito Turismo was awarded for its multifaceted marketing campaign that aims to reach travellers throughout the different phases of their trip: before, during and after. Judges were impressed with the multi-platform campaign that has been launched on the tourist board’s website, mobile apps and social media networks and has contributed to raising awareness of the destination. Expedia Group Media Solutions and Palace Resorts was selected as the runner-up for its campaign that used innovative eye-tracking software to give viewers a highly personalised experience, through a dedicated microsite; interacting with viewers in a way that allowed the advertiser to make a recommendation on which of their resorts would most appeal to that particular customer.
Winner: PEAK DMC South America
Runner-up: Audley Travel
Highly commended: Amazonas Explorer and VIVID Travel
PEAK DMC was awarded for its approach to employee acquisition, training, development and retention. Audley Travel was awarded runner-up for its impressive staff training and development schemes including an on-site gym, staff allotment and beehives.
PRODUCT LAUNCH OF THE YEAR
Winner: Bolivia Trip
Runner-up: BOLIVIA MILENARIA
Bolivia Trip was awarded for opening up Bolivia by attending travel events worldwide and offering fixed-date departures to the Uyuni Salt Flats – a tour for which they built a bespoke website. Bolivia Milenaria was also awarded for opening up Bolivia to a new luxury market with the launch of Movable Glamping Adventures across the country.
DMC / LOCAL OPERATOR
Winner: Cubania Travel
Runner-up: Lima Tours
Highly commended: Latventure Incoming and Cascada Expeditions
Cubania Travel was awarded for introducing e-bikes for less energetic travellers in Cuba, for investing profits from the business into converting a ten-room hotel that will be owned by staff and is designed to act as a pension scheme for them. Lima Tours was awarded for launching a five-day road trip across the country and its commitment to staff. The panel also decided to recognise Latventure Incoming and Cascada Expeditions for their impressive initiatives.
TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
Winner: Latin Routes
Runner-up: Imagine Travel
Highly commended: VIVID Travel, Audley Travel, Steppes Travel
Latin Routes was awarded for introducing a new Costa Rica programme, creating a dedicated Polar specialist team, and for their attention to staff training and retention. Imagine Travel was awarded runner-up in this category for launching new itineraries in Mexico and Colombia, for their work promoting Latin America to diverse audiences and for forming an employee-led Responsible Travel team to further drive their sustainability programme.
Colin Stewart, Chairman of LATA says:
“The aim of the LATA Achievement Awards is to celebrate and recognise destinations, individuals and companies that have made outstanding contributions to developing tourism to Latin America from the UK. We would like to thank everyone who submitted entries to this year’s awards. The level of submissions was extremely high, and we were delighted to see the efforts being made within the industry to grow and develop sustainable tourism to the region. We would like to congratulate all the winners and runners-up and thank all those that attended and made this year’s awards ceremony such a huge success.”
Images available HERE.