Melbourne’s glitzy Crown Palladium hosted the travel industry’s crème de la crème on Saturday night for The 2023 National Travel Industry Awards (NTIAs) and an epic celebration of everything we love about working in travel.
Taking place in Melbourne for the first time in 20 years (itself a reason to celebrate), the sold-out NTIAs recognised the outstanding individuals and businesses shaping the landscape of the Australian travel industry.
More than 1,300 of Australia’s travel tribe arrived dressed to the nines and ready to catch up, celebrate and, for many, party late into the early hours at the Viking Afterparty at The Palms at Crown.
And why not? Because if last year’s post-pandemic sentiment at the NTIAs in Sydney was all about “Travel being back”, this year’s celebration reflected on an often exhausting but universally successful 12 months of “Travel being back bigger than ever” for the industry.
Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) chief Dean Long triumphantly danced his way on stage to open the proceedings, noting that the awards had been on “a transformation journey over the last 24 months,” thanking the newly appointed NTIA Custodian Council Members for the time they had given to help reframe the judging process and the awards night as being “impeccable”.
Aussie comedian Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann and the big night host brought plenty of belly laughs to the proceedings and achieved a feat no host had previously done: Keeping the rowdy crowd quiet through the awards.
Taking a more aerial approach, Australia’s Got Talent winner Kristy Sellar’s pole-dancing entertainment mesmerised guests through the award intermission.
When the time came to hand out the highly-prized glass gongs, tears and joy were in glorious abundance as each of the 34 category winners was announced, with unique, heartwarming moments from the victors for all to see.
Entire teams came up on stage to share their winning surprise and excitement, with many dialling in team members who couldn’t be there via Facetime to share the special memories.
It was a reminder of why we love working in travel and why we should be so proud of the individual roles we play to contribute to the collective success and evolution of our beloved industry.
Sharing his pride in seeing the night come together, Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) CEO Dean Long commented, “The NTIAs 2023 was truly a night to remember. This is in no small part due to the high calibre of entries we received and the exemplary standard of travel professionals and businesses all throughout Australia.”
“It was so exciting returning to Melbourne this year and to be able to celebrate with all of the incredible travel professionals that make our industry so special.”
So, who were the official big winners on the night? Read on for the 2023 category champions.
The 2023 NTIA Winners in full
- Most Outstanding Mobile / Home-Based Travel Advisor: Wendy Brockbank, MTA Mobile Travel Agents
- Most Outstanding Travel Agency Manager: Stacey Brownsey, Helloworld Travel Mt Pleasant
- Most Outstanding Travel Consultant Corporate: Lauren Zischke, TAG Travel Group
- Most Outstanding Travel Consultant Leisure: Louis Teng, Connelly & Turner Travel Associates
- Rookie of the Year: David O’Shea, RAA Travel
- Most Outstanding Sales Executive – Air: Nick Lewis, Air New Zealand
- Most Outstanding Sales Executive – Cruise: Helen Courias, Holland America Line
- Most Outstanding Sales Executive – Land Supply: Mickey Mann, The Travel Corporation
- Most Outstanding Employee Engagement and Recruitment Program: Flight Centre Travel Group
- Most Outstanding Online Travel Agency: Webjet
- Most Outstanding Hybrid Online Travel Agency: Ignite Travel Group
- Most Outstanding Business Events Travel Agency: Event Travel Management (ETM)
- Most Outstanding National Travel Management Company: Stage and Screen Travel Services
- Most Outstanding Global Travel Management Company: Corporate Travel Management – CTM
- Most Outstanding Leisure Travel Agency – Single Location: FBI Travel
- Most Outstanding Leisure Travel Agency – Multi-Location: Helloworld Travel Hunter Travel Group
- Sustainability Award – Business: Corporate Travel Management – CTM
- Most Outstanding Mobile Advisor Network: MTA – Mobile Travel Agents
- Most Outstanding Travel Agency Group: Flight Centre
- Most Outstanding Non-Branded Agency Group: Travellers Choice
- Most Outstanding Tour Operator – Specialised: Albatross Tours
- Most Outstanding Tour Operator – Global: APT
- Most Outstanding Wholesaler – Product / Service: Entire Travel Group AND Viva Holidays
- Most Outstanding Wholesaler – Destination / Experience: ANZCRO
- Most Popular Tourism Office: Destination Canada
- Most Popular Accommodation Group / Chain: IHG Hotels & Resorts
- Most Popular Airline – Online: Virgin Australia
- Most Popular Airline – Offline: Lufthansa Group
- Most Popular Ocean Cruise Operator: Viking
- Most Popular River Cruise Operator: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
- Most Popular Car Rental Operator: Avis
- Most Outstanding Travel Industry Training Institution: TAFE Queensland
- Sustainability Award – Supplier: Hurtigruten
- Innovation in Travel Support Services: Cover-More Travel Insurance: Post-Pandemic Support
- People’s Choice Award- Australia’s Favourite Travel Brand: Trafalgar
Summing up an event that had been 12 months in the making, Long said, “Events of the scale the NTIAs 2023 celebration do not just happen, and on behalf of everyone, I thank the hardworking ATIA team and the generous support of our sponsors for helping us realise our vision for this event.”
“Our vibrant travel community is our greatest strength, and through events like the NTIA, we will continue our focus on harnessing the skills and expertise across our network to benefit our industry, our clients and our businesses,” he said.
The Major Sponsor for the event was Singapore Airlines.
For more information on the NTIAs, head to afta.com.au
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