SATW Foundation Contact
Mary Lu Abbott /
@SATWFoundation, @SATW

Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition
Announces New Award for Safety, Health Topics

Bequest From Longtime SATW Member Robert Haru Fisher Funds Prize

Robert Haru Fisher
Copyright: SATW Archives

March 3, 2021 — The SATW Foundation is excited to announce a new Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for 2021. The Robert Haru Fisher Award will focus on substantive reporting and writing on topics regarding health and safety for travelers.

This new, timely category in the annual Lowell Thomas competition is the result of a major bequest from Robert Haru Fisher, a distinguished editor, writer, and former president of the Society of America Travel Writers (SATW) Foundation. He died last March at age 90.

This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 80-plus awards in 27 categories and $22,550 in prize money in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.

The 2021 Lowell Thomas competition is now open, and deadline for entries is April 1. Judges are members of the faculty from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. For information, visit the SATW Foundation website,, or send an email to

Fisher formerly was president and editor-in-chief of the Fodor travel guides. He also was a past president of SATW, the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators. Besides a long, distinguished career in travel journalism, for 13 years he served with the CIA’s International Organization Division (IOD) in Asia, mostly in Japan. He believed that the IOD represented the best the CIA could provide, relying on cultural tools, not bullets or bombs, to accomplish its goals. He left the CIA after the assassination of President Kennedy and the disbanding of the IOD.

Fisher, a graduate of Harvard College who studied at Columbia University Law School and Tokyo University Graduate School of Law, lived in Seattle and New York most recently. As a guidebook editor, he lived overseas a number of years, developing a lifelong love for Japan.

SATW was founded in 1955, when print reigned. SATW and its members have adapted to meet the ever-changing media landscape and the organization remains the nation’s premier professional travel media organization. Its 1,000 members include the travel industry’s most experienced journalists, along with media relations experts and hospitality industry representatives from the U.S., Canada and beyond. All members must meet and maintain the industry’s highest standards of ethics and conduct and support SATW’s Mission of “inspiring travel through responsible journalism.”