First, there is the data that demonstrates travel is booming, on track to become the largest industry in the world:
More than 1 billion people are crossing international borders each year.
Another billion will enter the middle class over the next 12 years, adding significantly to number of consumers with discretionary funds to travel.
Reports from McKinsey, Accenture and Boston Consulting about the potential of the travel industry continue to fuel investment in hotels and cruise ships and the expansion of tour operations. Airlines are carrying more passengers than ever before, with no signs of slowing growth.
As the community of travelers multiplies, competition to attract them becomes more intense. The range of travel experiences has broadened as dramatically as the quality has risen over the last few years. Legacy destinations and companies are challenged by those bringing fresh approaches, ideas, technology and hardware.
In this increasingly competitive environment, some companies will succeed and some will not. What separates them?
Clues can be found in the following pages, among the winning entries in the Magellan Awards.
Those who enter the Magellans are not judged by their financial success, yet there appears to be a strong correlation between Magellan winners and companies on a solid course of growth. That linkage is not coincidental: Magellans reward the creative thinking that infuses successful companies, whether those businesses are multibillion-dollar cruise lines or home-based travel agencies.
In some industries, consistency of delivery is paramount. And while it's important in many aspects of the travel industry as well, operational competence is not enough. A travel company's success is directly tied to its ability to inspire, and then deliver on the promise of heightened expectations.
Motivating potential clients to share a company's vision of what travel can be requires the ability to distill experience and express its underlying essence in ways that resonate. That's a process that unites intuition with communication, and creativity with science and technology. It speaks to the subconscious and emotion and inspires a conscious response to arise from the ordinary and experience the extraordinary.
Time and again, with a single sentence, an arresting design element or imagery that touches the soul, the industry's marketers, designers, copywriters, videographers, architects, graphic artists, creative directors, photographers and travel consultants not only spark the impulse to escape the ordinary and travel to new worlds, but to ensure that promises and delivery can be aligned.
Again in 2014, those who judge the Magellan Awards were inspired by the industry's ability to inspire.
Magellan judges aren't remunerated, but are moved to volunteer in the spirit of recognizing and rewarding exceptional efforts. It is the judges' profound understanding of both consumers and the underlying benefits of travel that make the Magellans meaningful. I want to again publicly share my deepest appreciation to them for putting in the time and effort required to collectively view and score thousands of entries.
(Note: While we're confident these judges could be objective and unbiased no matter whose work they were reviewing, we have taken steps to ensure that there isn't even the appearance of conflicts of interest. None were given entries to critique in categories in which they directly work or have worked.)
And I'm hoping that you, too, will share in the inspiration that permeates the Magellan Awards as you review winners. It's a recognition program designed not only to reward past accomplishments, but to play a role in raising the bar for the future.
Editor in Chief, Travel Weekly
For a full list of winners, click here.