Reader awards celebrate top travel destinations

The 16th annual Group Leisure Awards ceremony held in Birmingham last night, has recognised the top attractions, destinations and companies for group trips and holidays. Votes were cast by readers of top specialist travel magazine, Group Leisure.

With winners including the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, Disneyland Paris, Liverpool, and West End production Matilda The Musical; votes were cast by active travel organisers from sports & social clubs, retired associations, special interest societies and other groups.

Additional winners included Bournemouth for Best UK Resort and Drayton Manor Theme Park for Best UK Attraction for Children. Westfield London collected the accolade for Best Shopping Centre, and the Best Cruise Line for Groups was awarded to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines for the third consecutive year.

The coveted Group Travel Organiser of the Year® Award was scooped by Janet Spooner of Travel Treats. Impressing an expert judging panel with her positive attitude and sense of fun, Janet organises a selection of day trips, short breaks and holidays for local people in the Milton Keynes area, offering her clients a little something extra in the form of ‘travel treats’. Along with her trophy, Janet collected £1,750 to use on a familiarisation holiday of her choice.

The ceremony took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, and was attended by some of the top names in the travel industry. Awards were presented by Group Leisure magazine editor Rob Yandell, alongside special guest, comedian and television personality Bobby Davro.

Group Leisure magazine editor, Rob Yandell commented: “With more choice than ever before when it comes to arranging group trips and holidays, what better endorsement is there than a personal recommendation from group travel organisers? It’s great that the industry can come together to celebrate the success of so many individuals and companies within the group travel trade.”

The 2012 categories and winners are as follows:

  • Best UK Attraction for Children: Drayton Manor Theme Park
  • Best Coach or Tour Operator - UK Tours: Woods Coaches
  • Best Ferry Operator: Irish Ferries
  • Best Airline:
  • Best Event for Groups 2011/2012: Royal Ascot
  • Best Travel Website for Groups: Welcome to Yorkshire -
  • Best Accommodation for Groups (4 or Less Properties): Potters Leisure Resort
  • Best Accommodation for Groups (5 or More Properties): Best Western Hotels
  • Best Shopping Centre: Westfield London

  • Best Shopping Retail Outlet: Oswaldtwistle Mills
  • Best Theatre Production: Matilda The Musical
  • Best Cruise Line for Groups: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
  • Best Ticketing Agency: Encore Tickets
  • Best UK Resort: Bournemouth
    Best UK City: Liverpool
  • Best International Destination: Disneyland Paris
  • The Excellence Award 2012: Jo Thomson, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Best Group Tour Operator - Short Haul: Riviera Travel
  • Best Group Tour Operator - Long Haul: Travelsphere
  • Best UK Attraction: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter
  • Group Travel Organiser of the Year® 2012: Janet Spooner, Travel Treats

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