This unique annual award, with a £2,000 first prize, continues to recognise group travel organisers for the positive impact they have on the lives of friends, family, colleagues or the local community. 

Group of travellers

First presented in 1999, the GTO of the Year Award® comes with a first prize of £2,000 to spend on a familiarisation holiday and is a great way of highlighting how GTOs bring people together to enjoy amazing experiences.

The four finalists for the 2024 award are: 

  • Joyce Cook, Basingstoke & Old Basing U3A
  • Nicola Haynes, Theatre Trips Essex
  • Patsy Steadman, Force Club, Avon & Somerset Police
  • Gwen Wright, the Arts Society, Cranleigh

Find out more about the finalists in our special feature here

A few words from the 2024 judges: 

Alan Rennie, business development manager for Ambassador Cruise Line said: “We wouldn’t have a thriving groups market if it were not for GTOs like these finalists.

“Listening to the stories of hard work mixed with a sense of pride, love and enjoyment opens your eyes to exactly what each group requires. To celebrate this work is crucial to give these amazing GTOs the spotlight and recognition they deserve, which is why Ambassador Cruise Line is so thrilled to support this category.

“We always love hearing about the GTOs who have made a real difference to others.” 

Gott 2 Travel aboard the MPS Calypso

This award highlights amazing GTOs. Pictured is 2023 winner, Mary Gotts (centre) when she chartered the entire MPS Calypso to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in style.

Daniel Pocock, sales development team leader for Potters Resorts and 2023 Excellence Award winner added: “It is so important to have awards like this to celebrate and honour the organisers who go above and beyond for their clubs or associations, colleagues, and local community.

“They offer opportunities for people to get out and enjoy what the UK and the world has to offer – many of whom wouldn’t have the opportunity if not for these hard-working individuals. Those organisers who work tirelessly to offer people a community and the opportunity to experience something new and make memories deserve to be acknowledged.”

About the award

The GTO of the Year Award® is part of the annual Group Leisure & Travel Awards initiative.

Launched in 1998 and first awarded in 1999, this annual award now comes with a £2,000 first prize for the winner to spend on a holiday to remember. Previous winners have chosen to visit destinations including Austria, Italy and Turkey.

Group talking

Over the years, all sorts of organisers have been recognised from a range of different groups and backgrounds. What they have all had in common is their ability and willingness to create fun and enjoyable opportunities for other people – many of whom would not have been able to enjoy such experiences otherwise.

“It is so important to have awards like this to celebrate and honour the organisers who go above and beyond for their clubs or associations, colleagues, and local community.”

Daniel Pocock, Potters Resorts, 2024 judge

People who organise group trips and holidays can enter themselves into the competition, whether it’s your hobby or full-time job. We also accept nominations from group members and encourage travel trade suppliers to put forward the great group travel organisers they work with.

“We always love hearing about the GTOs who have made a real difference to others.” 

Alan Rennie, Ambassador Cruise Line, 2024 judge

The Group Leisure & Travel team then find out more about them through a questionnaire and, if required, a phone call. A shortlist of four finalists is then decided who are then put in front of a panel of experts, which are normally made up of experienced travel trade professionals and group travel organisers, alongside the senior staff at GLT.

The Group Travel Organiser of the Year Award® 2023 is partnered by Ambassador Cruise Line.

Ambassadoir Cruise Line Logo

Ambassador sails for the British market from London Tilbury with a focus on premium-value. Its first ship, Ambience, set sail from Tilbury in April 2022 on an ex-UK no-fly range of voyages. Ambassador’s second ship, Ambition, entered service in May 2023, carrying 1,200 guests in 714 cabins, with ten guest decks. She will operate itineraries from London Tilbury as well as cruises from six UK regional departure ports, including Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol and Falmouth.

Find out more

The 2023 winner was…

…Mary Gotts, GOTT 2 TRAVEL, congratulations Mary!

GTO Mary Gotts is presented with the GTO of the Year Award by Alan Rennie at Ambassador Cruise Line and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin

GTO Mary Gotts is presented with the GTO of the Year Award® by Alan Rennie at Ambassador Cruise Line and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin during the GLT Awards ceremony on 4th October in Milton Keynes.

Mary loves what she does and told us: “The most rewarding part is seeing the faces of my members, excited, smiling and to hear them say it has been amazing, far beyond what they expected and that they’ve fulfilled a lifelong dream and made lovely new friends.

“I love seeing their faces ache with laughter, especially those who have lost partners and thought they wouldn’t travel again but now have found a new confidence. It’s also very rewarding to see the enthusiasm to do even more trips with me - there is no price to put on this.” 

You can read about our winner Mary and our other brilliant 2023 finalists here.

Should you have questions about the award, or need help contact the team at Group Leisure & Travel on 01908 613323 or send an email to awards@groupleisureandtravel.com.

For more information about the Group Leisure & Travel Awards click here.