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Air New Zealand flies high at Australian travel writing awards

Australia’s most sought after travel writing prize, the Air New Zealand – Australian Society of Travel Writers Journalist of the Year Award, has been won in 2003 by…

Australia’s most sought after travel writing prize, the Air New Zealand – Australian Society of Travel Writers Journalist of the Year Award, has been won in 2003 by Brisbane writer Liz Johnston, for articles published in the Australian Financial Review and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Highly Commended award was won by Sydney journalist Tim Elliott, for articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and HQ Magazine, and the Trade and Industry award went to Melbourne’s Alistair Smith, for articles in that city’s Sunday Age newspaper.

The annual awards ceremony – billed by the ASTW as its “night of nights” – was a black tie function, held on 18 October at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel in Sydney.

The three Air New Zealand prizes – which include Business Class travel on the airline to anywhere in its own operated network – were presented by Paul Donovan, the airline’s Vice President Australia, Sales and Marketing.

Mr Donovan used the occasion to endorse the relationship between the airline and the ASTW; to promote New Zealand as a holiday destination; and to highlight the airline’s new Tasman Express service, which offers everyday low fares from Australia to 25 New Zealand destinations from 29 October.

He also used the occasion to promote next year’s Annual General Meeting of the Australian Society of Travel Writers, to be staged in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, by Positively Wellington Tourism, with Air New Zealand as the official carrier and Tourism New Zealand a major partner.

“Quality travel writing is all about inspiring readers to want to pack their bags and see the world, and now, more than ever, there is a great need for such inspiration,” said Paul. “Air New Zealand has sponsored this awards programme for 10 years, building it to a major function attended this year by almost 120 guests, and we are delighted to continue our support.”

The President of the Australian Society of Travel Writers, Ms Lee Atkinson, said Air New Zealand’s long term support and had been a key reason for the growth in the number of travel writers entering the awards, and the strong attendance at the annual awards night dinners.

“The three prizes sponsored by Air New Zealand this year were won by entrants from three states,” said Ms Atkinson. “That demonstrates clearly the national status these awards have attained.”

Air New Zealand is now working closely with the ASTW, Positively Wellington Tourism and Tourism New Zealand to plan the 2004 Annual General Meeting in Wellington, which will showcase not only the city and surrounding tourism regions, but provide opportunities for the writers to see other parts of New Zealand in pre and post tours.

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