Dec 012015
 
2015 Travel Media Awards - Finalist in the Travel Blogger and Vlogger of the Year award.

This month saw a spate of awards ceremonies, including three in London that I attended as a shortlisted candidate. I was a contender for four major awards, which itself is a significant achievement, though I won none.

The 2015 Travel Media Awards, held at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London on 9 November saw me on shortlists for the Travel Blogger and Vlogger of the Year award plus the Travel Trade Feature of the Year awards.

2015 Travel Media Awards - Finalist in the Travel Blogger and Vlogger of the Year award.

2015 Travel Media Awards – shortlisted for Travel Blogger and Vlogger of the Year award

Alas, it wasn’t to be but chatting to fellow members of the travel media proved both interesting and enjoyable.

2015 Travel Media Awards - Finalist in the Travel Trade Feature of the Year award.

2015 Travel Media Awards – shortlisted for the Travel Trade Feature of the Year award

On 24 November I started the day at a breakfast ceremony within the hall of the Royal Institute of British Architects. I was one of the three people on the shortlist for the Independent Blogger of the Year award at the Comment Awards organised by Editorial Intelligence and hosted by Peter York.

I was placed on a table with journalists and editors from the Financial Times. Collectively the table bagged five awards. None of them bore my name.

Later the same day I headed to Central Hall at Westminster for the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) awards. At the AITO Awards I was shortlisted for the Blogger of the Year award.

Smiles and Champagne in The Savoy at the British Guild of Travel Writers gala dinner

Smiles and Champagne in The Savoy prior to the British Guild of Travel Writers gala dinner

At the beginning of the month I attended the British Guild of Travel Writers’ annual gala dinner at The Savoy. The evening provided an insight into the food and culture of Armenia, one of the sponsors of the event, along with Pas de Calais. I contributed a photo feature, Dresden through the lens, for the British Guild of Travel Writers website that appeared midway through the month.

After the event at The Savoy I went to the World Travel Market at the Excel London. While there I attended press conferences and met with PRs and representatives from tourist boards. It was great to see a number of new products, including Virtual Reality headsets, which look like they have huge potential.

A Virtual Reality headset being demonstrated at the 2015 World Travel Market.

A man demonstrates a Virtual Reality headset at the 2015 World Travel Market in London

I wrote about the impact of Formula One on tourism in host cities for the WTM Buyers’ Club Magazine. The feature includes facts and figures from Mexico and Abu Dhabi plus quotes from sports marketing experts but is too large to attach here.

The Rugby World Cup 2015 provided the basis of a feature about England as the tournament’s host nation.

Tyne Bridge during the Rugby World Cup 2015.

A sign announces the Rugby World Cup 2015 on the Tyne Bridge

On my blog – which I’m now very proud to say was shortlisted for three major awards – you’ll also see pieces on the chef Monk Epifanios of Mylopotamos and the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

My feature Dresden: Germany’s Most Photogenic City, for the Huffington Post, attracted a lot of Facebook likes and shares

The Semperoper in Dresden, Germany

The Semperoper in Dresden, Germany

I also wrote about golf on some stunning courses in Austria and India for the CountrybyCountry 2016 Golf guide.

My work on training with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at their Depot base in Regina, Saskatchewan was published on the newly launched Canada Travel website.

Training at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan

Training at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Depot base in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Oct 012015
 
President of the Jury at the 2015 Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.

A couple of emails containing good news were sent to me during September. I was informed that I’ve been shortlisted for three national awards.

I’m one of three people on the shortlist for the Comment Awards’ Independent Blogger of the Year award for my work on www.go-eat-do.com. Organised by Editorial Intelligence, the Comment Awards are now in their seventh year. The names of shortlisted journalists reads like a who’s who of the UK’s media. It’s an honour to be invited to the 2015 awards ceremony, which takes place in London on 24 November.

Days later I learnt I’ve also been shortlisted in two categories of the 2015 Travel Media Awards. The awards evening will be held in at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London on 9 November.

I’m a finalist in the Travel Blogger and Vlogger of the Year category for my work on www.go-eat-do.com.

My feature Take me to the River was published in ABTA Magazine late in 2014 and has resulted in me being shortlisted as a finalist in the Travel Trade Feature of the Year award category.

It’d be great if I can share further good news with you next month but being shortlisted is a major achievement in its own right.

At the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.

At the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.

For ten days during September I was in Croatia, where I was President of the Jury at the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival. The festival showcases travel and tourism related films ranging in duration from 60 seconds up to an hour. More than 600 films were submitted for the 2015 festival. Selecting the best films for screening and awards was a tough task. The jury selected the short film Time, from Switzerland, for the festival’s grand prix.

Koenigsbau-Passage shopping mall by Stuttgart's central Schlossplatz.

Koenigsbau-Passage shopping mall by Stuttgart’s central Schlossplatz.

During September I posted three features on go-eat-do.com. The first looked at the Germany city of Stuttgart, in Baden-Württemberg, as a destination for a break. If you enjoy art, culture, history and motor vehicles then there’s much to do in Stuttgart, which also offers rapid access to nearby vineyards.

I also wrote about Gouda Cheese Market, which I visited on a sunny day earlier this year. For centuries the Dutch city has been selling cheese produced on surrounding farms.

The Roman Bridge in Sommières, France.

The Roman Bridge in Sommières, France.

Responsible tourism in the French town of Sommières proved the focus of a feature which I posted late in the month.

With the Rugby World Cup 2015 getting underway in England I wrote a feature on Newcastle-upon-Tyne, one of the tournament’s host cities, for The South African.

My feature 5 Reasons to go Wild in Langkawi, about Kilim Karst Geoforest Park in Malaysia, was posted on the Flight Centre website. The geopark is a great place for a day out if you enjoy nature and wildlife and are taking a break on the tropical island.

A brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) swoops at speed in Kelim Karst Geoforest Park on Langkawi, Malaysia.

A brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) swoops at speed in Kelim Karst Geoforest Park on Langkawi, Malaysia.

I also wrote the post 7 Amazing Pictures That Will Want You to go to Western Australia for the Flight Centre. It’s a great part of the world if you enjoy driving holidays and photography.

The Super Pit goldmine at Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia.

The Super Pit goldmine at Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia.

My review of the Masseria Torre Coccaro, a luxury resort hotel that draws stars such as George Clooney, was published on the Our Man On The Ground website. The hotel is in Apulia, Italy.

Wall of the Masseria Torre Coccaro five-star resort near Fasano in Apulia, Italy.

Wall of the Masseria Torre Coccaro five-star resort near Fasano in Apulia, Italy.

I also spent time working on a handful of newspaper and magazine features which will be published over the weeks ahead.

In the meantime the Sunderland Echo published a story about me and the recent success of go-eat-do.com under the headline Sunderland writer enjoys a taste of success with food blog. Thanks to Kevin Clark, a reporter with the newspaper, for writing that feature.

Mo Farah (GB) heads towards the finish line to win the men's elite race at the Great North Run.

Mo Farah (GB) heads towards the finish line to win the men’s elite race at the Great North Run.

I photographed on the finish line of the Morrison’s Great North Run on 11 September, getting some good shots of the likes of Mo Farah, Mary Keitany, David Weir, and Shelley Woods; the winners of the elite races.

Here’s looking forward to keeping to writing about achievements throughout October at the beginning of November. Have a great month!

Tuna steak with green vegetables, served at the Masseria Torre Coccaro.

Tuna steak with green vegetables, served at the Masseria Torre Coccaro.