Golden Backpack Awards UK Winners Announced

The cream of the independent travel industry has been celebrated at TNT Magazine’s Golden Backpack Awards: London.

In a spectacular gala evening event at Shaka Zulu in London on Wednesday night, 19 winners were announced with awards presented by Lonely Planet’s Tom Hall.

Voted by TNT readers via live and online campaigns, the accolades recognised tour operators, airlines, accommodation and transport providers who have shown outstanding commitment to the adventure, backpacking and youth travel market.

It was the first time the Golden Backpack Awards have been held in the UK – having been a huge success in Australia.

Winners included Intrepid Travel as Favourite Worldwide Tour Operator; Sail Croatia as Favourite Activity/Sports Tour Operator; British Airways as Favourite Long Haul Airline; while Balkan Road Trip scooped Best Sector Newcomer.

Busabout, specialising in budget travel in Europe, scored a hat-trick including Favourite Medium-Size Tour Operator, Favourite European Tour Operator and Best Tour Itinerary.

Worldwide group travel organiser, Contiki, also went home with two prizes for Favourite Big Tour Operator and Greenest Travel Initiative.

Kevin Ellis, CEO of TNT Multimedia, said of the event: “We’re thrilled to have launched the UK version of the successful Golden Backpack Awards from Australia. This is the only dedicated awards for our market, and who better to vote than the people who genuinely go on these holidays; our readers.

“Congratulations to all winners and we can’t wait for next year’s event.”

Here’s the full list of the winners

Favourite big tour operator Winner: Contiki Finalist: Thomas Cook; Club 18-30

Favourite medium-size tour operator Winner: Busabout Finalists: Topdeck Travel; On The Go

Favourite smaller tour operator Winner: GoBus Finalists: Anderson Tours; Fez Travel

Favourite UK & Ireland tour operator Winner: Paddywagon Tours Finalists: Haggis Adventures; Shamrocker Adventures

Favourite European tour operator Winner: Busabout Finalists: Contiki Holidays; Expat Explore

Favourite Middle East tour operator Winner: Topdeck Travel Finalists: Travel Talk; On The Go

Favourite worldwide tour operator Winner: Intrepid Travel Finalists: Contiki Holidays; Topdeck Travel

Favourite activity/sports tour operator Winner: Sail Croatia Adventures Finalists: Action Outdoors; Outgoing Ltd

Favourite Festival tour operator Winner: Topdeck Travel Finalists: First Festival Travel; Fanatics

Favourite winter/ski tour operator Winner: Alpen Rider Finalists: Contiki Holidays; Crystal Ski

Best tour itinerary Winner: Busabout Finalists: Contiki Holidays;  Topdeck Travel

Favourite transport provider Winner: Eurolines Finalists: Busabout; Spaceships Campervan Rentals

Favourite long haul airline Winner: British Airways Finalists: Emirates;  Qantas

Favourite short haul airline Winner: easyjet Finalists: bmi; Turkish Airlines

Best hostels Winner: Hostelling International Finalists: Plus Hostels; Smart City Hostels

Best sector newcomer Winner: Balkan Road Trip Finalist: MedSailors Ltd

Favourite travel agency Winner: STA Travel Finalists: Flight Centre;  Thomas Cook

Best support service Winner: 1st Contact Finalists: Excess Baggage; Anglo Pacific Greenest travel initiative Winner: Contiki Holidays Finalist: On the Go