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37+ Years of Rewarding Journalists for Outstanding Work in the Field

The SATW Foundation sponsors the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. The first contest honored work done in 1984. Today the Foundation awards more than $22,000 annually in prize money for outstanding print, online and multimedia works and for travel photography and both audio and video broadcast. It is the premier competition in North America in the field of travel journalism. It has gained its stature for several reasons, most notably:

* it does not promote any particular destination or travel product,
* it does not have any membership requirements for journalists to enter, and
* it is judged independently by the faculty at top U.S. schools of journalism.

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2021 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards Announced

The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced Oct. 4 during the 2021 Annual Convention of SATW, the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.

The 1,278 entries in the annual contest, overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, were noteworthy for their style, scope and service to readers who struggled to make sense of a travelscape turned upside down by the pandemic. The University of Missouri School of Journalism oversaw the judging, which involved 27 judges this year.

SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition winners attending the SATW awards ceremony in Milwaukee for the 2021 SATW Conference.

Katherine LaGrave, digital features editor for Afar Media, was honored as the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. Judges praised her storytelling and reporting as well as her focus on what readers needed to know to navigate today’s travel challenges.

BBC Travel brought home nine awards; The New York Times earned eight awards; and Travel + Leisure won seven awards.

Jacqueline Gifford, Editor-in-Chief of Travel + Leisure, earned the Gold Award for Travel Magazines; Outside Magazine got the Gold Award for Travel Coverage in General Magazines while The Plain Dealer gained the top spot for Newspaper Travel Coverage. Judges cited editor Susan Glaser’s “laser focus on readers” who sought closer-to-home destinations in the wake of the pandemic.

Matt Crossman earned the Gold for the Robert Haru Fisher Award for Travel Health/Safety Coverage, the first time this award has been given. A generous bequest from Robert Haru Fisher, a journalist and guidebook editor, funds the award. Fisher helped start the SATW Foundation and the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

Click here for all the details about this year’s award winners.

The sustainability of the annual SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is made possible by a generous contribution from Gold Supporter CARNIVAL CORP., the world's largest cruise company with a portfolio of brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Its contribution helps make the prizes possible and supports the future of quality travel media. The SATW Foundation thanks all donors, including the 30 Partners for 30 Years and other contributors for their support in recognizing and rewarding excellence in travel journalism.

The sustainability of the annual SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is supported by generous contributions from CARNIVAL CORP.
and other Top Supporters.
GOLD SUPPORTER Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest cruise company with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, featuring Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK). Its brands, dedicated to annually providing great vacations to millions of passengers, sail over 100 ships to over 700 ports.

The Foundation

We are a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) foundation, started in the 1980s. Our mission is to recognize and reward outstanding work in travel journalism. The Foundation funds the competition through entry fees and donations, which are tax-deductible. 

 Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)

The Society of American Travel Writers is the pre-eminent professional association of travel journalists. Click here to learn more or visit the SATW Web site, www.satw.org. 

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