30th Annual NATJA Award Winners

The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) recently turned 30 years old. The mission of the organization is “to provide educational and networking opportunities to help members succeed in the evolving multi-platform journalism environment and travel industry with an emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.” NATJA has handed out travel awards for the past 30 years, and I was honored to receive an honorable mention in the cultural photography category. Below is the full list of this year’s NATJA awards winners listed on their website!

Overlooking the ‘City of Lights’ before sunset.
By Alexander Kallimanis


Category 300: Travel Magazine

  • Gold: Condé Nast Traveler
  • Silver: Travel + Leisure, August 2021, 50th Anniversary Issue
  • Bronze: Island Soul, Visit Galveston
  • Honorable Mention: Air Canada enRoute, September / October 2021 Issue
  • Honorable Mention: National Geographic Travel

Category 301: Independent Travel Blog

  • Gold: KyAnn Lewis, KidTripster
  • Silver: Brad A. Johnson, Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel
  • Bronze: Michael Hodgson & Therese Iknoian, HI Travel Tales
  • Honorable Mention: John Gottberg Anderson, Travels in Vietnam
  • Honorable Mention: Cory Lee, Curb Free with Cory Lee


Category 100: Destination Travel

  • Gold: Leslie Oh, “All in Good Time”, Travel + Leisure
  • Silver: Heidemarie Brandes, “See glowworms give a dazzling show at this national landmark”, National Geographic
  • Bronze: Julia Busiek, “Heading for the Hills”, National Parks Magazine
  • Honorable Mention: Francis Lam, “Right Around the Corner”, Condé Nast Traveler

Category 101: Illustrated Story

  • Gold: Michelle Theall, “Paradise Found? The Search for Home in Alaska”, Alaska Magazine
  • Silver: Jayme Moye, “Exploring the Origins of Skiing in China’s Altai Mountains”, Canadian Geographic
  • Bronze: John Gottberg Anderson, “Vietnam’s Idyllic Phu Quoc Island”, TravelWorld International Magazine

Category 102: Long-Form Narrative/Personal Essay

  • Gold: Aatish Taseer, “The Writer and the World”, Travel + Leisure
  • Silver: Eve Conant, “One way to fight invasive species? Eat them.” National Geographic Travel
  • Bronze: Jennifer Flowers,” The Calming, Healthful Joy of Visiting an Old-Growth Forest Near You”, Bloomberg Pursuits
  • Honorable Mention: Freda Moon, “California’s Hotel Figueroa is a historic retreat for solo women travelers to Los Angeles”, SFGATE

Category 120: Lifestyle, Personality and Profiles

  • Gold: Morgan Tilton, “Full Potential”, Adventure Pro Magazine
  • Silver: Jayme Moye, “In British Columbia, the Fight for Old Growth Rages On”, Outside
  • Bronze: Don George, “Remembering Jan Morris, 1926 – 2020”, GeoEx’s Wanderlust
  • Honorable Mention: Amanda Finn, “Secrets from a Flight Attendant: Five Hacks to Make you Next Flight Better”, Airfare Watchdog
  • Honorable Mention: Charu Suri, “Horses Still Have to Eat”, The New York Times

Category 121: Luxury and Resort Travel

  • Gold: Heidi Mitchell, “Privacy Please”, Travel + Leisure
  • Silver: Mark Ellwood, “Meeting’s Over, There’s a Giraffe at My Door”, Robb Report
  • Bronze: Nikki Ekstein, “Florida is Getting its own Baha Mar-Style Mega-Resort in Boca Raton”, Bloomberg Pursuits
  • Honorable Mention: Lindsey Tramuta, “Live Like an Actual King in this Hotel on the Grounds of Versailles”, Bloomberg Pursuits

Category 122: Sports, Recreation and Adventure

  • Gold: Aaron Teasdale, “The untold story of the boldest polar expedition of modern times”, National Geographic Travel
  • Silver: Jen Murphy, “The Quest to Rescue the Dude Ranch, One City Slicker at a Time”, Bloomberg Pursuits
  • Bronze: Lina Zeldovich, “The Lasting Allure—and Bruising Challenge—of Courting Florida’s Silver King,” Atlas Obscura
  • Honorable Mention: John Bowe, “These are the Days of Miracle and Wonder”, Travel + Leisure
  • Honorable Mention: Jen Rose Smith, “’It really is like flying.’ Explore wild skating on nature’s ice”, National Geographic Travel

Category 123: Cruises

  • Gold: Fran Golden, “Billions in New Cruise Ships Are Ready to Sail, with Nowhere to Go”, Bloomberg Pursuits
  • Silver: Rose Palmer, “Release Your Inner Jackie O on a Luxury Sailing Holiday in Greece”, Quiltripping.com
  • Bronze: Janice Wald Henderson, “Small Ship Charters That Won’t Break the Bank”, Cruise Critic
  • Honorable Mention: Eliza Watkins, “A Teen’s Favorite Things about Sailing with UnCruise”, KidTripster

Category 124: Historical Travel

  • Gold: Eben Diskin, “Visiting a concentration camp is not just an excursion. It’s a lesson in humanity”, Matador Network
  • Silver: John Gottberg Anderson, “The Bleak Legacy of War”, Travels in Vietnam
  • Bronze: Sonam Vashi, “What role do tourists play in the future of confederate monuments?” National Geographic Travel
  • Honorable Mention: Freda Moon, “Is it ‘The Sierra’ or ‘The Sierras’? Californians can’t agree”, SFGATE

Category 125: 60+ Travel

  • Gold: Mark Ellwood, “Baby boomers, desperate to travel, are booking lavish getaways, month-long stays in villas, and exotic cruises” Business Insider
  • Silver: Debra Kamin, “A Different Early-Bird Special: Have Vaccine, Will Travel”, The New York Times
  • Bronze: Terri Colby, “Rapid Pulse: The nation’s newest national park”, Chicago Tribune
  • Honorable Mention: Kara Williams, “Why RV Road Trips Are the Most Romantic Way to Travel”, Travel Awaits

Category 126: Family Travel

  • Gold: Leslie Oh, “All in Good Time”, Travel + Leisure
  • Silver: Heather Greenwood Davis, “Black dads share their best tips for traveling this summer”, National Geographic Travel
  • Bronze: Stacy Tillilie, “Stranger Things”, AAA World
  • Honorable Mention: Taffy Brodesser-Akner, “Cold Comfort”, Travel + Leisure

Category 127: Culinary Travel

  • Gold: Jon Gorey, “Falling for the Farm Coast”, Boston Globe Magazine
  • Silver: Suzanne Corbett, “Patriotic Plates”, Gazelle Magazine
  • Bronze: Nancy Matsumoto, “A Voyage Back in Wine”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Honorable Mention: Carrie Dow, “It’s Personal”, Artisan Spirit
  • Honorable Mention: Lina Zeldovich, “The chef preserving Canada’s Indigenous Identity”, BBC

Category 128: Cultural Travel

  • Gold: Robyn Huang and Matthew Reichel, “Afghans look for new ways to share their culture far from home”, National Geographic Travel
  • Silver: Bert Archer, “Qaumajuq”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Bronze: Mickey Rapkin, “COVID-19 couldn’t stop K-pop’s global rise”, National Geographic Travel
  • Honorable Mention: Eben Diskin, “It’s time to stop using the word ‘museum’ to describe pop-up museums”, Matador Network

Category 129: Eco, Environmental or Volunteer Travel

  • Gold: Sydney Loney, “Chasing Icebergs”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Silver: Jayme Moye, “In British Columbia, the Fight for Old Growth Rages On”, Outside
  • Bronze: Anna Fiorentino, “Your love for fresh oysters can help the planet”, National Geographic Travel
  • Honorable Mention: Stephen Starr, “Tearing out these dams will open rivers up for recreation—and save lives” National Geographic Travel

Category 130: Health and Wellness Travel

  • Gold: Peter Johansen, “The Joy of Treks: Reaping the rewards of day-tripping”, Fifty-Five Plus
  • Silver: Julie Bielenberg, “New You, New Ew!!! New Self-Care Trends Range from Snails to Salt to Hay”, Westword Magazine
  • Bronze: Michael Branch, “Circling the Mountain”, National Parks Magazine
  • Honorable Mention: Gigi Ragland, “An Alluring Oasis”, Denver Life Magazine

Category 131: LGBTQ+ Travel

  • Gold: Miles Griffis, “How LGBTQ youth are building community through conservation work”, National Geographic Travel
  • Silver: Mark Ellwood, “LGBTQ+-friendly resort amenities and services are becoming mainstream as luxury destinations improve efforts to attract this group of travelers with trillions in purchasing power”, Business Insider
  • Bronze: John Garry, “What is the Future of LGBTQ Safe Spaces?”, Matador Network

Category 132: Accessible Travel

  • Gold: Morgan Tilton, “A Climb for Greater Accessibility”, REI Uncommon Path
  • Silver: Cory Lee, “Traveling While Using a Wheelchair”, Expedia Viewfinder
  • Bronze: Lisa Kadane, “Travelling with Disabilities: How Far We’ve Come and Where We Go from Here”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Honorable Mention: John Garry, “It’s time for airlines to change how they treat wheelchair users”, Matador Network
  • Honorable Mention: Cory Lee, “Here’s what my dream travel day would look like as a wheelchair user”, The Points Guy

Category 140: Travel Video

  • Gold: GLP Films, “Sustainable Thailand: Experience Ancient Wisdom and Wellness”

Category 142: Travel Web Series

  • Gold: GLP Films, “#TourismStrong: Resilience Amidst COVID-19”

Category 143: Travel Podcast

  • Gold: Liz Beatty, “The World’s Longest, Most Gruelling Sled Dog Race — and Those Who Love It”, northamericanapodcast.com
  • Silver: Scott Gurian, “Day of the Deceased”, Far From Home Podcast
  • Bronze: Liz Beatty, “The Original Rosie the Riveter was Canadian? Meet all the Rosies from Michigan to Ontario”, northamericanapodcast.com

Category 150: Photography – Cover or Feature Photo/Illustration

  • Gold: Ruksana Hussain, “Holiday Edition Cover Photo”, Traveler and Tourist
  • Silver: Alana Paterson, “January/February 2021 issue”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Bronze: John Gottberg Anderson, “The sun sets on Phu Quoc Island …”, Travels in Vietnam
  • Honorable Mention: Brad Torchia, “November 2020 issue”, Air Canada enRoute

Category 151: Photography – Landscape, Seascape

  • Gold: Chris Bukkard, “Volcano tourism is booming, but is it too risky?”, National Geographic Travel
  • Silver: Heather Trimm, “Bloo, it’s Halloween!”, Trimm Travels
  • Bronze: Rose Palmer, “Baltimore Inner Harbor Reflection”, Quiltripping.com
  • Honorable Mention: Arial Evans, “Kayaking on String Lake”, Road Trip USA

Category 152: Photography – Portrait, People

  • Gold: Luján Agusti, “In Patagonia, these cowboys are expert guides to a wild land”, National Geographic Travel
  • Silver: Mickaël A. Bandassak, “Interview: Shina Novalinga”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Bronze: Michael Hodgson, “Maasai warrior in shadow and light”, HI Travel Tales
  • Honorable Mention: Brad A. Johnson, “On the beach at Nobu, Los Cabos”, Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel
  • Honorable Mention: Rose Palmer, “The Petra Commute”, Quiltripping.com

Category 154: Photography – Photo Essay

  • Gold: Therese Iknoian, “MidCoast Maine lighthouses: Get inspired for a Maine lighthouse Tour”, HI Travel Tales
  • Silver: Erin Clarkson, “Ossabaw Island, Georgia: A Photo Essay”, Savannah First-Timer’s Guide
  • Bronze: Kari Medig, “No Ordinary Ride”, Air Canada enRoute
  • Honorable Mention: Wendy Gunderson, “Photo Tour of Key West”, Film Road Trip

Category 155: Photography – Cultural

  • Gold: Cindy Baker, “Charlie Chaplin Goes to Óbidos”, Travel Bliss Now
  • Silver: John Gottberg Anderson, “Worshippers kowtow to the Cao Dai Eye …” Travels in Vietnam
  • Bronze: Michael Hodgson, “Laughter breaks boundaries”, HI Travel Tales
  • Honorable Mention: Alexander Kallimanis, “Overlooking the ‘City of Lights’ Before Sunset”, Wanderlust Marriage Travel

Category 160: Travel Book or Guide

  • Gold: Andrea Granahan, The Wandering Widow
  • Silver: Jennifer Bain, 111 Places in Calgary That You Must Not Miss
  • Bronze: Tim Leffel, A Better Life for Half the Price – 2nd Edition
  • Honorable Mention: Erin Clarkson, Savannah First-Timer’s Guide
  • Honorable Mention: Kristy Tolley, 100 Things to Do in Asheville Before You Die

Category 161: Trade Travel Article

  • Gold: Heather Greenwood Davis, “A Travel Industry Guide to Recruiting and Hiring Black Talent”, TravelAge West
  • Silver: Jessica Puckett, “Women in the Travel Industry Are Bearing the Brunt of the Pandemic’s Economic Hardships”, Condé Nast Traveler
  • Bronze: Don George, “The Future of Travel: Six Emerging Trends”, GeoEx’s Wanderlust
  • Honorable Mention: Mindy Poder, “When Life Gives You Lemons”, TravelAge West

Category 162: Travel Tips & Advice

  • Gold: Tim Leffel, “Responsible Tourism and Travel: What Helps the Locals (and What Doesn’t)”, The Cheapest Destinations Blog
  • Silver: Leslie Oh, “There’s a passport backlog in the Bay Area and nationwide. Here are some hacks to get yours faster”, SF Gate
  • Bronze: Nikki Ekstein, “How to Travel Safely During Covid: What Doctors Recommend After Getting a Vaccine”, Bloomberg Pursuits
  • Bronze: Paige McClanahan, “How to Travel More Sustainably”, The New York Times
  • Honorable Mention: George Coleman, “15 Liveaboard Diving Tips to Have the Best Trip Ever”, Coleman Concierge
  • Honorable Mention: Taylor Godber, Dominique Lamberton, Susan Nerberg, Jen O’Brien, “How to Winter in Canada”, Air Canada enRoute

Category 163: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

  • Gold: Heather Greenwood Davis, “Pride of Place”, Travel + Leisure
  • Silver: Daliah Singer “The Overlooked Contributions of Black Americans to U.S. Barbecue Culture”, Condé Nast Traveler
  • Bronze: Sarah Enelow-Snyder, “An Ethical Guide to Plantation Tours”, Condé Nast Traveler
  • Honorable Mention: Heather Greenwood Davis, “Families are leading a new wave for Black travelers”, National Geographic Travel
  • Honorable Mention: Heather Greenwood Davis, “9 Ways to Make the Outdoors More Inclusive”, Outside


Category 200: Visitors’ Guide

  • Gold: South County Tourism Council, “South County Visitor Guide 2021”
  • Silver: Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Huntsville Destination Guide”
  • Bronze (tie): Visit Staunton | City of Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Staunton Visitors Guide”
  • Bronze (tie): Discover Puerto Rico, “Discover Puerto Rico Website”
  • Honorable Mention: Augusta County Economic Development & Tourism, “The Official Guide to Augusta County”
  • Honorable Mention: Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & Convention & Visitors Bureau, “2021 Official Branson Vacation Guide”
  • Honorable Mention: Love Catalina Island, “Love Catalina Island 2021 Digital Visitors Guide”

Category 201: Destination Video

  • Gold: Kansas Tourism, “Mountain Bike Trails in Kansas? Yep… We’ve Got ‘Em!”
  • Silver: Discover Puerto Rico, “Sounds like Puerto Rico”
  • Bronze: Love Catalina Island, “Roam Free” Destination Video”

Congratulations to all the NATJA awards winners! Check out the NATJA home page for more information on the organization as well as upcoming events and conferences.


  • Alex Kallimanis

    Alex Kallimanis is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner who has visited 67+ different countries, including all 27 European Union countries across all continents except Antarctica. He has resided around the world, living in countries like Australia, the Netherlands and Ireland for over 7 years combined. Currently residing in the Tampa, Florida, area with his wife Bell, he still spends much of his time in Europe as a dual Greek citizen. Alex is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor of arts degree in history, and was the president of Phi Alpha Theta (Honors History Society) during his senior year there. Alex is an avid enthusiast of sports, spas, delicious food, the outdoors, craft beverages, history and culture.

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