The winners of the 2019 ttgluxury Travel Awards have been revealed at a glittering lunchtime ceremony at Rosewood London, with more than 230 industry professionals attending the event.
Rosewood London hosted the event for the second year running, and in a venue befitting such a prestigious event, the recipients of 13 awards were announced on stage.
They included four agent awards and eight supplier awards in aviation, cruise, hotels and tour operating, with over 250 companies entering across all categories.
This year, two new agent categories were added, with Mark Swords, of Swords Travel, picking up the award for Star of Tomorrow. The award is designed to recognise those travel agents with less than three years’ experience in a luxury role, or those who have started their own luxury business for the first time.
The other new category was Luxury Travel Retail Business, which was won by Quintessentially Travel. This award was introduced in order to recognise a wider range of luxury travel businesses, and showcase the diversity of models in the sector.
The winner of Luxury Travel Agency of the Year (store) was Off Broadway Travel in Welwyn, and the Luxury Travel Designer of the Year (individual) went to Dan Salmon, Never a Wasted Journey.
All agents had to go through a rigorous entry process, completing a substantial submission online, which was then judged by a panel of industry experts.
Also announced at the event was the recipient of the prestigious Contribution to Luxury Travel, which was awarded to the founder and CEO of Virtuoso, Matthew Upchurch, who flew in from Mexico to attend the event.
Born in Mexico City, where he spent the first 11 years of his life before moving to the US, Upchurch co-founded Virtuoso in 1986 with his late father and the by-invitation-only organisation now encompasses more than 1,000 agency locations covering 20,000 travel advisors in more than 50 countries.
Editor of ttgluxury April Hutchinson said: "A huge congratulations to all those companies who made it onto the short list – and even bigger praise to our winners on the day! The ttgluxury Travel Awards are the only ones in the UK dedicated to celebrating the best in our sector, and I’m so thrilled with how everything went at the event, which was also a brilliant opportunity to catch up with friends old and new in our fabulous industry."
On the day, guests enjoyed a champagne and canape drinks reception and a two-course lunch, followed by dessert canapes and drinks afterwards to toast the winners. Entertainment came from SoSinatra and CK Gospel Choir, who got the audience in celebratory mood.
The full list of winners are:
Contribution to Luxury Travel
Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso
Star of Tomorrow
Mark Swords, Swords Travel
Luxury Travel Retail Business of the Year
Luxury Travel Designer of the Year (individual)
Dan Salmon, Never A Wasted Journey
Luxury Travel Agency of the Year (store)
Off Broadway Travel, Welwyn
Premium Cruise Line of the Year
Ultra-luxury Cruise Line of the Year
Premium Airline of the Year
Luxury Operator of the Year
Specialist Luxury Operator of the Year
Best New Luxury Hotel of the Year
University Arms, Cambridge
Luxury Hotel Company of the Year – small group (25 hotels or less)
Luxury Hotel Company of the Year – large group (more than 25 hotels)
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts