Travel Weekly features editor Joanna Booth has become the first winner of a new travel trade writer of the year award from the Association of Independent Tour Operators.

She took the prize for a piece in Travel Weekly’s quarterly Aspire luxury travel magazine named ‘Big Beasts’.

One judge said it was a “simple article, well told… with all the elements necessary to inform the reader of the total experience, very concisely written.”

Another judge remarked how it was “a crystal-clear explanation of safari options in Botswana – essential information, but not often delivered in this way. Great descriptions, too, such as “hippos…resembling slow-moving pebbles in the river.”

Booth took home a cash prize of £250 provided by Aito member Classic Collection.

Travel Weekly contributor Meera Dattani came third in the travel trade writer category for a feature on Sri Lanka – ‘A New Dawn’.

One judge said: “Crikey! There can be nothing left about Sri Lanka that I do not know. An excellent trade article which clearly matches the editor’s brief.”

In second place was Josephine Price for a well-written piece in Abta Magazine about the unknown side of Israel.

The new award was created by Aito to recognise the technical writing abilities of travel trade writers – and also the understanding required of complex travel industry issues.

Aito chairman Derek Moore said: “Huge congratulations to all of the entrants for such a high standard this year. The new categories proved to be extremely popular, particularly the travel trade award.

“I’d like to thank the writers of so many carefully-crafted articles, about so many fascinating destinations, for their brilliant demonstration of how vividly words can bring a place to life and drive demand to visit a destination, despite disasters and tragedies.”