NATJA Announces 2011 Award Winners for Excellence In Travel Writing, Photography, Promotion

Grand Prize Winners: National Geographic Traveler, Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau, David Noyes, Andrew McCarthy, and Jill Schensul

Travel Industry Wire The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) has announced the winners of its 2011 NATJA Awards Competition.  Awards went to publications, travel writers, and photographers whose work was represented in print and electronic media. Additionally, awards were given to the top convention and visitors bureaus, PR agencies and destination marketing organizations. The competition, now in its 20th year, honors the “best of the best” of travel writing, photography and promotion that cover all aspects of the travel industry worldwide. 

“This year’s entries were outstanding, both in quality of the journalism, excellence and range of coverage,” said Helen Hernandez, CEO of the organization. “The number of entries continues to grow. The creativity is reflective of the vibrancy of the travel journalists’ community.  This year’s entry pool is an indicative of the economic recovery and its positive effect on the travel industry.”

Grand Prize winners in this year’s competition were: National Geographic Traveler as a distinctive, fascinating, and informative publication; the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau for their brilliant creativity in using social media to promote their destination; David Noyes for his sensitive and evocative images; travel journalist Andrew McCarthy for his captivating and entertaining stories; and Jill Schensul for her enlightening and enjoyable chronicles.

One first place (Gold) winner is chosen in each of the 59 categories along with 2nd (Silver) and 3rd place (Bronze) runners up. In addition, four overall grand prize winners are selected in recognition of “outstanding excellence” in the categories of travel journalism, photography, publications and DMO/CVB submissions. 

The mission of NATJA is to foster high quality journalism by supporting the professional development of its members, providing exceptional benefits and valuable resources, honoring the excellence of journalism throughout the world, and promoting travel and leisure activities to the public at large.

2011 NATJA Awards Competition Winners

Publication – National Geographic Traveler
Convention & Visitors Bureaus/Destination Marketing Organizations – Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau
Photography – David Noyes
Travel Journalism – Andrew McCarthy & Jill Schensul

MEDIA – General Travel Articles
Category 100: Destination Travel, Domestic Newspaper - Greater than 250,000 Circulation          

  • Gold: Irene S. Levine: “Italian Town Gleams Atop a Hill Near The Adriatic,” Dallas Morning News
  • Silver: Michael Luongo, “In Argentina, Touring the Tigre Delta,” New York Times
  • Bronze: Nancy Wigston, “Silent In Arab Spring,” National Post
Category 100A: Destination Travel, Domestic Newspaper - Less than 250,000 Circulation
  • Gold: Jill Schensul, “Colombia: Casting Off the Shadow of Fear,” The Record
  • Silver: Christine Tibbetts, “Cleveland, Ohio: Circles Of Friendly Experiences,” Tifton, GA Gazette
  • Bronze: Jim Farber, “Going To Surf City—Moroccan Style,” Creators Syndicate
Category 101: Destination Travel, Domestic Magazine
  • Gold: Paula Froelich, “Down and Out in Baghdad,” Playboy
  • Silver: Joseph Guinto, “Royal Treatment,” Private Clubs
  • Bronze: Andrew McCarthy, “L.A. Dreamin',”            National Geographic Traveler
Category 102: Destination Travel, International Newspaper - Greater than 250,000 Circulation
  • Gold: Adrian Brijbassi, “Chasing The Big Five,” Toronto Star
  • Silver:  Kate Pocock, “Germany: Freedom of Expression,” Globe and Mail
  • Bronze:  Adrian Brijbassi, “Freedom Found in Curacao,” Toronto Star
Category 102A: Destination Travel, International Newspaper - Less than 250,000 Circulation
  • Gold: Julie Carl, “Getting Buffaloed,” Winnipeg Free Press
  • Silver: Christine McBeath, “Amazing Alaska,” Kamloops This Week
  • Bronze: Ron Pradinuk, “It’s Safe To Say, We Loved It,” Winnipeg Free Press
Category 103: Destination Travel, International Magazine
  • Gold: David Noyes, “Behind the Façade,” Lifestyle + Travel
  • Silver: Natasha Mekhail, “Heaven Scent,” Fairmont Magazine Online
  • Bronze: Michael DeFreitas, “Alaska's Un-Cruise Experience,” World Of Cruising Magazine
Category 104: Byline Travel Column – Greater than 250,000 Circulation
  • Gold: Gus Garcia-Roberts, “Emergency Mariachis,” American Way
  • Silver: Peter Jon Lindberg, “Traveling Heavy,” Travel & Leisure
  • Bronze: Christopher Elliott, “Savor The Trip, Don’t Tweet It,” National Geographic Traveler
Category 104A: Byline Travel Column – Less than 250,000 Circulation
  • Gold: Jill Schensul, “No maps, but plenty of apps,” The Record
  • Silver: Paul Rubio, “Carribean Queen: The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas,” Mark Magazine: Weekly Column: "Amazing Gay Travel"
  • Bronze: Stacey Wittig, “Livin' the Viva Loca in Taos, NM,” Pinewood News
Category 105: Travel Series – Magazine
  • Gold: Susan Nerberg, “Geek Odysseys,” enRoute Magazine
  • Silver: Carole Herdegen, “Special India Collector’s Edition,” Elegant Living Magazine
  • Bronze: Margaret Swaine, “City Snap Guide,” Ensemble Vacations
Category 105A: Travel Series - Newspaper
  • Gold: Jim Byers & Adrian Brijbassi, “The Grand Tour,” Toronto Star
  • Silver: Jill Schensul, “New Jersey Road Trip,” The Record
  • Bronze: Ron Pradinuk, “BritRail system offers excellent rates, comfort,” Winnipeg Free Press
MEDIA – Special Focus Travel Articles - Print
Category 120: Local Lifestyle
  • Gold: Robert Wilonsky, “Hidden Charms,” American Way
  • Silver (tie): Kate Betts, “Malibu State of Mind,” Travel + Leisure
  • Silver (tie): Amy Alipio, “At Home in Transylvania,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Bronze (tie): Christine McBeath, “Kickboxing in Backstreet Bangkok,” The Now Newspaper Group
  • Bronze (tie): Anne  Gordon, “Land of the Last Frontier,” Ensemble Vacations
Category 121: Leisure Activity
  • Gold: James R. Petersen, “The Long Road,” Playboy
  • Silver: Charles Kulander, “It's a Wonderful Life,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Bronze: Sarah Staples, "Hip Hotels Offer Here-and-Gone Stores and Restos," The Globe and Mail
Category 122: Sports and Recreation
  • Gold: Andrew McCarthy, “In Search of the Black Pearl,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Kay Grant, “Stroke of (Evil) Genius,” American Way
  • Bronze (tie): Janice Mucalov, “Playing with Elephants,” Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Cindy Ross, “Adventuring in Israeli Desert,” Toronto Star
Category 123: Resorts
  • Gold: Paul Rubio, “Golden Idyll,” Palm Beach Illustrated
  • Silver: Linda Fasteson, “Rest and Relaxation Arizona Style,” Living Well, The Sun Chronicle
  • Bronze: Nancy Wigston, “Shelter from the Norm,” National Post
Category 124: Cruises
  • Gold: Michael DeFreitas, “Jungle Fever,” Ensemble Travel Magazine
  • Silver: Jill Schensul, “A Dream for the Whole Family,” The Record
  • Bronze: Sheila Hansen, “Alaska, Ahoy!” Westworld Saskatchewan
Category 125: Personality and Profiles
  • Gold: Barbara Wayman, “Michael Chiarello’s Napa Valley,” Home and Away Magazine
  • Silver: David Hochman, “The Virtuoso Traveler,” Virtuoso Life
  • Bronze: Kevin Wierzbicki, “Behind Closed Doors,” Broughton Quarterly
Category 126: Historical or Hobby Travel
  • Gold: Larry Bleiberg, “Remembering the Freedom Rides 50 Years Later,” Los Angeles Times
  • Silver: Michael Luongo, “Ground Zero as Dark Tourist Site,” Miller- McCune Magazine
  • Bronze: Cindy Fan, “The door of no return in West Africa,” Toronto Star
Category 127: 50+ Travel and Travelers
  • Gold: Don Mankin, “Off Road in Montenegro,” Vibrant Living Magazine
  • Silver: Dave G. Houser, “For Modern-Day Nomads, Home is an RV or Boat,” Where to Retire Magazine
  • Bronze: Linda Fasteson, “Sea Maine,” Living Well, The Sun Chronicle
Category 128: Intergenerational and Family Travel
  • Gold: Carl Hoffman, “Last Goodbye in Chiang Mai,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Karin Leperi, “Return to Zion Canyon,” Country Extra Magazine
  • Bronze: Andrew  McCarthy, “The Art of the Deal,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Bronze: Michele Peterson, “My Nude Christmas with Mom,” Ottawa Citizen
Category 129: Culinary Travel
  • Gold: Alan Richman, “Bubble Economics,” Experience Magazine
  • Silver: Wayne Curtis, “A London Fog,” enRoute Magazine
  • Bronze: Alan Richman, “A Normandy Invasion,” National Geographic Traveler
Category 130: Cultural, Educational, Self-Improvement Travel
  • Gold: Daisann McLane, “Ghosts of Hong Kong,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Sarah Staples, "Not Just Kid Stuff," The Dallas Morning News
  • Bronze (tie): Dave G. Houser, "New Mexico and Beyond," Trailer Life Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Jill Schensul, “A Culture as You've Never Seen it: Festival Highlights Influences of Nature on Colombian Culture,” The Record
Category 131: Eco, Environmental or Special Purpose Travel
  • Gold: Costas Christ, “Last Stand in the Serengeti,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Vanessa Molina Santamaria, “Adventures in Voluntourism,” Destination Hyatt 2011
  • Bronze: Justin Paul, “Rain Forest Drifter,” Virtuoso Life
Category 132: Budget Travel
  • Gold: John Lee, “A Paris Fling,” MoneySense Magazine
  • Silver: Ron Pradinuk, “New Brunswick On A Budget,” Winnipeg Free Press
  • Bronze: Jill Schensul, “Pumped-Up Costs,” The Record
MEDIA – Special Focus Travel Articles – Internet 
Category 140: Local Lifestyle
  • Gold: Tim  Leffel, “Side Saddle Girls at a Mexican Rodeo,” Perceptive Travel
  • Silver: John Edwards, “Basque Case: Separation Anxiety in the Pyrenees,”
  • Bronze: Margie Goldsmith, “Driving the Alabama Tornado Away and Singing the Blues,”
Category 141: Leisure Activity
  • Gold: Fyllis Hockman, “The Newseum: Where the News is News,”
  • Silver: Lisa Te Sonne, “Voices & Choices When a Human Flies,”
  • Bronze: Kate  Pocock, “Corn Mazes: Ripe for Family Fun,”
Category 142: Sports and Recreation
  • Gold: Margie Goldsmith, “A Close Encounter with New Foundland's Humpbacks,”
  • Silver: Susan Wood, “Pedaling back in time through the hills of Vermont,” Lake Tahoe News
  • Bronze: Dan Schlossberg, “Spring Training Travel: A Baseball Vacation Guide,” AOL Travel
Category 143: Resorts
  • Gold: John  Edwards, “News from Nowhere: Gonzo in Ghana,”
  • Silver: Susan Wood, “Woodstock Inn – a landmark for the season and the ages,” Lake Tahoe News
  • Bronze: Fyllis Hockman, “Mohonk: Sumptuous Old-World Flavor Tastefully Wrapped in Casual Elegance,”
Category 144: Cruises
  • Gold: Elaine Glusac, “Arctic Voyages,”
  • Silver: Dale Sanders, “Living Large on Seabourn Legend,”
  • Bronze: Ron Pradinuk, “So What's Nieuw in Cruise Ships,”
Category 145: Personality and Profiles
  • Gold: Lola Akinmade Åkerström, “Slow Food From Sápmi,” Sweden.SE
  • Silver: Margie Goldsmith, "A $2 Million Treasure Hunt in Santa Fe,"
  • Bronze (tie): Tim Leffel, “The Dreams of Man in Stone and Concrete,” Perceptive Travel
  • Bronze (tie): John Edwards, “Caodai Calling,”
Category 146: Historical or Hobby Travel
  • Gold: Margie Goldsmith, “Diving New Foundland’s World War II Shipwrecks,”
  • Silver: Amy Rosen, “My Life & Times with the CN Tower,”
  • Bronze: Traci Suppa, “World’s Largest Shuffleboard Club,” Go BIG or Go Home Blog
Category 148: Intergenerational and Family Travel
  • Gold: Traci Suppa, “World’s Largest Traveling Amusement Park, at the Big E”, Go BIG or Go Home Blog
  • Silver: Kathryn Borel, Jr., “Vegas Babies: Fear and Loathing with Los Parents,” enRoute Magazine
  • Bronze:Kae Reed, “South Dakota, a land of family history,” Lake Tahoe News
Category 149: Culinary Travel
  • Gold: Lola Akinmade Åkerström, “Revamping Classic Irish Tea at Dublin's Merrion Hotel,” Matador Network
  • Silver: Tim  Leffel, “Touring Chile’s Wine Districts Near Santiago,” Luxury Latin American
  • Bronze: Dale Sanders, “Hyatt Clearwater Beach Resort - A Soaring Success,” Island & Coastal Destinations @
Category 150: Cultural, Educational, Self-Improvement Travel
  • Gold: Amy Rosen, “Can a Croissant Change Your Life?”
  • Silver: Margie Goldsmith, “Singing Out for Peace with Sweet Honey and the Rock,”
  • Bronze (tie): Dale Sanders, “Finding Your Tropical Chi,” TravelWorld International Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Lisa Codianne Fowler, “Riviera Maya and All That Jazz,” TravelWorld International Magazine
Category 151: Eco, Environmental or Special Purpose Travel
  • Gold: Kae Reed, “Taking a walk on the wild side with panda paradise,” Lake Tahoe News
  • Silver: Jennifer Miner, “Saving Endangered Sea Turtles in Costa Rica,” The Vacation Gals
  • Bronze (tie): Marc R. Kassouf, “Eco Adventures in Thailand's North,” TravelAge West Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Sherri Eisenberg, Nina Fedrizzi, Darrell Hartman, Stirling Kelso, Hannah Wallace, "Global Vision Awards," Travel + Leisure
Category 152: Budget Travel
  • Gold: Kara Williams, “Affordable Aulani: How To Vacation at Disney’s Hawaii on a Budget,”
  • Silver: John Edwards, “Do Andorrans Dream of Electric Cheap,”
MEDIA – Electronic, Video, Broadcast 
Category 153: Travel Broadcast (Television, Radio, Podcast and Web Series)
  • Gold: Gary Arndt, This Week in Travel,
  • Silver: Dan Schlossberg, Jenny Dervin (JetBlue) Interview, The Maggie Linton Show
Category 154: Travel Journalism Website
  • Gold: Veronica Stoddart, USA Today Travel,
  • Silver: Tim Leffel, Perceptive Travel,
  • Bronze: Lisa Codianne Fowler, Travel with Lisa Online,
Category 155: Travel Blog
  • Gold: Tim Leffel, Cheapest Destinations Blog,
  • Silver: Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere,
  • Bronze: Jennifer Miner,  The Vacation Gals,
Category 156: Travel App
  • Gold: Mobile Website: Beautiful South County,
  • Silver: National Geographic Traveler, 50 Places of a Lifetime
MEDIA – Photography, Illustration 
Category 170: Overall Excellence
  • Gold: David Noyes, “Europe’s Coolest Little Hot Spot,” Lifestyle Through Innocent Eyes
  • Silver: Michael DeFreitas, “Hawaii: A Study in Contrasts,” Audi Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Christian Kerber, “True North,” Travel + Leisure
  • Bronze (tie): Matthieu Raffard, “French Twist,” enRoute Magazine
Category 171: Cover Photo, Illustration
  • Gold: Bill Bachmann, “Inside India,” Private Clubs
  • Silver: Lorne Bridgman, “Great Dane,” enRoute Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Douglas Peebles, “Hawaii,” Hawaii Magazine
  • Bronze (tie): Julia Pelish, “Aruba Flashes Its Best,” Toronto Star
Category 172: Landscape, Seascape
  • Gold: Aaron Huey, “Landscape of my Father,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: David Noyes, “The Middle Hills,” Lifestyle Through Innocent Eyes
  • Bronze: Eamon Mac Mahon, “Leisure Island,” enRoute Magazine
Category 173: Portrait, People
  • Gold: David Noyes, “The Uyghur of Kashgar,” Lifestyle Through Innocent Eyes
  • Silver: Evan Kafka, “Life and How to Live It,” American Way
  • Bronze (tie): Susan Seubert, “It's a Wonderful Life,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Bronze (tie): David Lasker, “Gerhard Urbanek, King of Vienna's Naschmarkt,” Zoomer Magazine
Category 174: Facility, Architectural
  • Gold: Catherine Karnow, “L.A. Dreaming,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Robert Jerome, "Eiffel Tower, " The Rail Monthly
  • Bronze: Ron Pradinuk, “Las Vegas reflected off Encore,” Winnipeg Free Press
Category 175: Travel Photo Guide
  • Gold: Dan Suzio, Death Valley Photographer's Guide
  • Silver: Douglas Peebles, Photographing Maui
Category 176: Photo Essay
  • Gold: Catherine Karnow, “Vietnam,” AAA Living
MEDIA – Miscellaneous 
Category 190: Travel Book or Guide
  • Gold: Marci Penner, 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook
  • Silver: Vanessa  Molina Santamaria, Our Jamaica 2011
  • Bronze: Myrna George, Beautiful Beaches South County, RI
Category 191: Trade Travel Article
  • Gold: Christine McBeath, “Design Trends,” Alerta Hospitality
  • Silver: Arnie Weissmann, “In Japanese Waters,” Travel Weekly
  • Bronze: Kenneth Shapiro and Monica Poling, “Southern Japan Entices,” TravelAge West
Category 192: Travel Tips & Advice
  • Gold: Jill Schensul, “Winter Seasonal Guide,” The Record
  • Silver: Dale Sanders, “Where the Lobsters Lurk,” Florida Sportsman
  • Bronze: Fran Golden, “High Seas Society,” Virtuoso Life
Category 193: Top Roundups
  • Gold: Margaret Loftus, “20 Tours of a Lifetime,” National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Anne Ford, “Biggest & Best!” AAA Living
  • Bronze: Paul Rubio, “For the boys,” Men's Book Atlanta

Category 200: Visitors’ Guide – Marketing Budget Greater than $400,000

  • Gold: What’s Your Destination ID, Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Silver: Spokane Regional Visitors Guide, Spokane Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau
Category 200A: Visitors’ Guide – Marketing Budget Less than $400,000
  • Gold: 2011-2012 Official Pasadena Visitors Guide, Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Silver: Santa Monica Official Visitors Guide 2011 – 2012, Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau
Category 201: Destination Video
  • Gold: Ultimate Wave Tahiti: Beyond the Wave, The Phelps Group
  • Silver: Seattle CityPass Video, CityPass
  • Bronze: Destination Henderson Video, City of Henderson, Department of Cultural Arts & Tourism
Category 203: Social Media or Marketing Campaign – Marketing Budget Greater than $400,000
  • Gold: Tourism Counts, Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau
Category 203A: Social Media or Marketing Campaign – Marketing Budget Less than $400,000
  • Gold: Laguna Beach Foodies Campaign, Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau
  • Silver: Frisco Is A Great Weekend Getaway!, Frisco, Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Bronze: Surfing Santas, Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau

Category 300: Newspaper Travel Section

  • Gold: The Record
Category 301: Travel Magazine
  • Gold: National Geographic Traveler
  • Silver: Travel + Leisure
  • Bronze: Ensemble Vacations
Category 302: In-Flight Magazine
  • Gold: American Way
  • Silver: enRoute Magazine
Category 303: Destination Magazine
  • Gold: Discover Charleston 2011

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