Silver Travel Awards 2018: Winners revealed

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British Airways and Great Rail Journeys have both scooped gongs for the fourth year running at the Silver Travel Awards.

Classic FM presenter John Suchet hosted the awards, which recognise travel companies that best cater for the over-50s market, at the National Portrait Gallery on Monday.

A total of 21 awards were handed out across a range of categories after a record 100,000 votes were cast from the public.

Great Rail Journeys, which won best rail holiday company, and British Airways, which was crowned best airline, have taken home awards every year since the event started in 2015.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (best ocean cruise line), HF Holidays (best activity or adventure holiday company), Enable Holidays (best accessible holiday provider) and Avis (best car rental company) all won for the third year running.

Silversea went home with the award for best luxury cruise line, while Hurtigruten collected the prize for best specialist or expedition cruise line.

Escorted tour operator prizes went to Shearings Holidays for the UK award and Wendy Wu Tours for Europe and long-haul tours.

Solos Holidays was named best operator for the single traveller, beating Just You into the runners-up position.

Debbie Marshall, Silver Travel Advisor’s managing director, said each of the winners had displayed empathy to older customers and maintained a culture of great service.

She said: “Our winners have received ringing endorsements from the UK’s mature travellers. These awards are a real test of how well travel firms are addressing the opportunities to attract, impress and create loyalty in the over-50s sector.”

Inghams and Personal Touch Holidays & Dementia Adventure were named joint winners of the new Silver-i award.

The award recognises a company that has delivered outstandingly for the mature traveller over the last year, in terms of an idea, initiative or innovation.

Eight judges on the panel awarded the same marks for Inghams’ new e-biking programme in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and a collaboration between charity Dementia Adventure and Personal Touch Holidays, which arranges overseas holidays in Portugal for those living with dementia, their carers and partners.

The winners for the 21 main consumer voted awards for 2018:

Best Ocean Cruise Line 
Runner-up: Saga Cruises
WINNER: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Best Luxury Cruise Line

Runner-up: Celebrity Cruises
WINNER: Silversea

Best Specialist or Expedition Cruise Line

Runner-up: Noble Caledonia
WINNER: Hurtigruten

Best River Cruise Line

Runner-up: Noble Caledonia
WINNER: Viking

Best Luxury River Cruise Line

Runner-up: Uniworld
WINNER: Scenic

Best Escorted Tour Operator (UK Tours)

Runner-up: Grand UK Holidays
WINNER:  Shearings Holidays

Best Escorted Tour Operator (Europe and Long-Haul Tours)

Runner-up: Jules Verne
WINNER: Wendy Wu Tours

Best Luxury Escorted Tour Operator

Runner-up: Kuoni
WINNER: Cox & Kings

Best Cultural Tour Operator

Runner-up: Wendy Wu Tours
WINNER: Jules Verne

Best City Breaks Operator

Runner-up: Kirker Holidays
WINNER: Super Break

Best Self-Catering Accommodation

Runner-up: Forest Holidays
WINNER: Eurocamp

Best Villa Holiday Company

Runner-up: Simpson Travel
WINNER: Villa Plus

Best Car Rental Company

Runner-up: Hertz

Best Airline 

Runner-up: Emirates
WINNER: British Airways

Best Accessible Travel Provider 

Runner-up: Shearings Holidays
WINNER: Enable Holidays

Best Operator for the Single Traveller

Runner-up: Just You
WINNER: Solos Holidays

Best Short-Haul Tour Operator

Runner-up: Tui
WINNER: Jet2Holidays

Best Long-Haul Tour Operator

Runner-up: Kuoni
WINNER: Saga Holidays

Best Activity or Adventure Tour Operator

Runner-up: Explore
WINNER: HF Holidays

Best Rail Holiday Provider 

Runner-up: Railbookers
WINNER: Great Rail Journeys

Best Overseas Destination

Runner-up: United States
WINNER:  Italy

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