A ‘best travel agent’ category will feature at this year’s Silver Travel Awards for the first time.

The event, which honours businesses and individuals that serve the over-50s market, will be hosted by broadcaster Dame Esther Rantzen at Bafta’s headquarters in London’s Piccadilly.

Also new for 2019 is a best beach holiday operator award.

Voting for the 21 categories opens on March 1 and closes on May 15. Last year, 100,000 votes were cast by members of the public.

The awards, run by advice site Silver Travel Advisor and now in their fifth year, take place on June 26. Travel Weekly is trade media partner.

In addition to the 21 award categories are two Silver-i awards – one for product  development and one for marketing – to recognise travel companies or destinations that have delivered best for the mature traveller in terms of an idea, initiative or innovation. The Silver-i awards will be judged by industry experts, including Travel Weekly head of news Amie Keeley.

To nominate themselves or others, entrants must submit a 500-word supporting statement, with images, by May 3. Email service@silvertraveladvisor.com to request an entry form.

Debbie Marshall, managing director of Silver Travel Advisor, said: “The awards honour the companies that have gone the extra mile to deliver spectacularly for the older traveller in the past 12 months. From luxury cruises to self-catering holidays, from rail tours to car rental, from city breaks to safaris, travel operators across the UK have worked hard to create an ever-widening circle of new experiences for older people to enjoy.”

Host Dame Esther is best-known for her time presenting former BBC show That’s Life! for 21 years and later Hearts of Gold. She is also founder of The Silver Line, a helpline for older people.

To find out more about the awards and how to vote, go to: research.net/r/Silvertravelawards