The 2011 British Travel Awards, which took place last night 2 November, celebrated a line up of winning travel companies as voted for by the British public. This year more than 700,000 votes were cast – three times more than last year – making The British Travel Awards (BTA) the largest independent awards scheme in the UK.
Over one thousand of the UK travel industry’s movers and shakers packed Battersea Evolution, London to hear actor Gyles Brandreth announce the companies winning the prestigious BTA trophies. In celebration of the special forthcoming 2012 Olympics year BTA sponsor Lloyds TSB arranged for the Olympic Torch to take pride of place at the venue and the occasion was honoured with the presence of Gold winning heptathlete Denise Lewis, athletic paralympian Bethy Woodward, and Paralympian tennis athlete, Liam O’Reilly.
The battle for which company would receive the most awards, between the many brands that encompass the Thomas Cook and Thomson organisations, saw Thomson pip the post with an impressive eighteen awards against Thomas Cooks’ fifteen. The Virgin brand also did well collecting a total of fifteen awards across its airline, holiday and cruise divisions including the winner Best Economy Class Airline, and Best Airline Customer Service.
BIG WINNERS : Whitbread, Merlin Entertainments and TUI AG won major awards.
Australia is the Best Country according to BTA voters, with Florida the Best USA Holiday State and New York the Best City Break Destination. Back home the British public still love Cornwall and it was again voted Best UK Holiday County or Region, with St. Ives winning Best UK Seaside Town. For the second year running Premier Inn picked up a trio of awards with Best Leisure Hotel Chain, Best Business Hotel Chain and Hotel Chain of the Year.
In terms of British Attractions, Merlin Entertainments swept the board in the Theme Park category, with Alton Towers, Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park gaining Gold, Silver and Bronze respectively. The company’s London Eye also claimed 3rd place in the Leisure Attractions category.
BTA’s chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said:
“ From relatively small beginnings the British Travel Awards has gone from strength to strength and now in its sixth year the British public has cast an incredible number of votes for their favourite travel companies. Next year we hope to pass the one million mark – the British Travel Awards are without doubt the largest independent consumer voted independent awards scheme in the UK.
The British Travel Awards’ the winning accolades are the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who really is the best in the business of travel for the UK consumer. All winners are to be congratulated on their achievement.”
This year the British Travel Awards went Green teaming up with voluntary emissions reductions specialists Carbon Neutral Investments, to make the BTAs 2011 100% carbon neutral – covering all the power used at the event and the estimated travel to and from Battersea for the eleven hundred or so attending crowd.