Tour operator Latin Routes, Guyana Tourism Authority and Norwegian are among the winners of this year’s Lata Achievement Awards, which took place on Monday night in London.
The ceremony also saw Beyond Vira Vira scooping an award for hotel of the year, with the cruise operator of the year prize going to Golden Galapagos Cruises.
“The level of submissions was extremely high,” said Colin Stewart, chairman of Lata. “And we were delighted to see the efforts being made within the industry to grow and develop sustainable tourism to the region.”
Martin Johnson, co-founder of Latin Routes, said: “We’re delighted because it’s been a big year for us, but we never expected to win it twice in a row.
“To be recognised for the second year running is an honour. It’s recognition of the hard work, not just of me and Jess [Dennison, co-founder] but also for the whole team as well – all the marketing, sales and product guys. It’s much more of a team effort and it recognises the expansion over the past 12 to 18 months and where we’re heading as a business.”
Judges highlighted Latin Routes’ focus on innovation and growth, as well as its initiative in bringing UK travel agents out to Rio de Janeiro for a training academy late last year.
Matthew Wood, senior vice president of long-haul commercial at Norwegian, said: “Latin America is a fascinating market with huge growth potential so we are proud to win airline of the year at this year’s Lata Achievement Awards.
“This award reflects our dedicated colleagues’ hard work which has helped Norwegian quickly make a positive contribution to connectivity and job creation in Latin America.”
The award for sustainability went to the Guyana Tourism Authority. UK representative Kate McWilliams said: “It’s the first time that we’ve attended ELA as an official exhibitor and sustainability is very much at the tope of the agenda for Guyana.
“Community-led tourism is at the heart of what we do so we’re really pleased, we hope it gets the word out about Guyana. We’re an emerging destination and we’re really hoping to work more closely with the UK trade.”
The Lata Achievement Awards, of which Travel Weekly is media partner, were held on the first evening of the three-day Experience Latin America event, held at Chelsea Football Club in London.
Full list of winners
Airline of the year
Runner up: Air Europa
Cruise operator of the year
Winner: Golden Galapagos Cruises
Runner-up: Galagents S.A
Highly commended: Australis
Sustainable destination of the year
Winner: Guyana Tourism Authority
Runner-up: Tierra del Volcan
Highly commended: Condor Travel, VIVID Travel, Steppes Travel and Metropolitan Touring
Hotel of the year
Winner: andBeyond Vira Vira
Runner-up: Hotel Carlota
Destination of the year
Marketing campaign of the year
Winner: Quito Turismo
Runner-up: Expedia Group Media Solutions and Palace Resorts
Winner: Peak DMC South America
Runner-up: Audley Travel
Highly commended: Amazonas Explorer and VIVID Travel
Product launch of the year
Winner: Bolivia Trip
Runner-up: Bolivia Milenaria
Winner: Cubania Travel
Runner-up: Lima Tours
Highly commended: Latventure Incoming and Cascada Expeditions
Tour operator of the year
Winner: Latin Routes
Runner-up: Imagine Travel
Highly commended: VIVID Travel, Audley Travel, Steppes Travel