Magellan Awards 2017

October 30, 2017

Travel is life accelerated. It can transform us in a surprisingly short amount of time, illuminating our understanding of culture, history, geography and landscapes, art, gastronomy, language and politics. It makes what is ordinarily inaccessible, accessible and what is foreign, familiar.

After a travel "product" is consumed, the consumer is renewed and inspired. Not many industries can deliver on that promise as consistently as the travel industry does.

But the very excitement that travelers have come to expect from their journeys also makes it that much harder for retailers, marketers, designers and communications professionals in travel. With all the amazing destinations, hotels, cruise ships, airlines and tours, how does one stand out?

Ironically, because we're blessed with a surplus of incredible inventory, creative efforts must be that much more exceptional.

Travel Weekly's Magellan Awards recognize the very best examples of design and promotion in an extraordinarily competitive environment. The winners have moved step by step, from inspiration through execution, balancing the exact right words, materials, shapes, colors and technology to create an impression that moves a traveler to book.


List of winners

Magellan winners are those marketers and designers whose exploration of travel's possibilities ring true and stand out. Their carefully crafted messages, whether spoken, printed, posted, broadcast, streamed or tweeted, spark travelers' imaginations.

The art of conceiving, composing and distributing inspiration on the sales and marketing side, and the alchemical process that transforms abstract creative thought into physical beauty on the design side, is what Travel Weekly's Magellan Awards recognize.   

This year's silver and gold Magellan winners are the industry's marketers, designers, copywriters, videographers, architects, graphic artists, creative directors, photographers and travel consultants who not only trigger the impulse to escape the ordinary and travel to new worlds, but to assure that promises and delivery are aligned.

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.)

The awards are as much for the benefit of Travel Weekly's readers as for those who entered the competition. As you review the Magellan Awards winners, we hope that you, too, find inspiration to rise to new heights.

Arnie Weissmann
Sr. Vice President and Editor in Chief
Travel Weekly

Magellan Awards Judges

Richard Bangs

Bangs is the executive producer and host of the PBS program "Richard Bangs' Quests."

He served as executive producer and host of the Emmy-winning PBS series "Richard Bangs' Adventures With Purpose," and his companion book, "Adventures With Purpose," was named best book by the North American Travel Journalists Association in 2007. He was part of the executive team of and served as its editor at large.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten

Baumgarten is the past president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, an international organization of travel industry executives that promotes tourism worldwide. Prior to that, he held various executive positions at Air France during a nearly 30-year career, including executive vice president of corporate, international and industry affairs.

Today he is chairman and CEO of Crewe Associates, a management consultancy.

Bruce Beckham

Beckham is a consultant specializing in travel industry marketing, tour operations, travel industry philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. He is a founder of and the executive director emeritus of Tourism Cares, a nonprofit, philanthropic organization.

He is the former owner of a family-operated travel agency and tour company, a past president of the National Tour Association and a past chairman of the National Tourism Foundation.

Mike Fegley

Fegley served as InterContinental Hotels Group's vice president of sales, Americas from 2001 until his retirement in 2015.

Prior to joining IHG, Fegley held senior management positions with Holiday Inns Inc., where he began his career in 1976; Renaissance Hotels & Resorts; Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; and Carlson Cos.  

He has served on the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and Tourism Cares.

Steve Gorga

Gorga until July was the president and CEO of Tourism Holdings. The company was recently acquired by the Mark Travel Corp.

Gorga was CEO and president of Travel Impressions from July 2001 through June 2013. During his tenure, Travel Impressions assumed the management in 2010 of the American Express Vacations wholesaling business based in Europe and Mexico.

Prior to that, Gorga spent 15 years in numerous key leadership roles with Sabre and American Airlines within the AMR Corp.

Peter Greenberg

Greenberg is travel editor for CBS News and host of the nationally syndicated "Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio" show, broadcast each week from a different remote location around the world.

He is co-author of Michelin's "Like a Local" guides and also serves as editor at large of Global Business Travel magazine.

Greenberg produces and co-hosts PBS' "The Royal Tour," which features one-on-one journeys through various countries with their heads of state.

Dan Hanrahan

Hanrahan was president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises from 2007 to 2012 and prior to that was senior vice president of marketing and sales for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. He most recently served as president, CEO and director of the Regis Corp., a global leader in beauty salons and cosmetology, from 2012 to 2017.

Since 2012, he has served as a director of Cedar Fair, a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment. He also currently serves on Lindblad Expeditions' board of directors.

Johnny Jet

John E. DiScala, aka Johnny Jet, travels more than 150,000 miles and visits 20 countries each year. He and his website have frequently been featured on major network TV and in national publications. He appears every Saturday on Leo Laporte's syndicated radio show, "The Tech Guy," talking about travel and technology.

Budget Travel magazine named one of the top money-saving websites for travel.

Colleen Kelly

Kelly is the host, co-creator and co-executive producer of the series "Family Travel With Colleen Kelly" airing on PBS stations. Kelly has been a featured speaker at travel industry events such as the Travel and Adventure Show and has appeared in numerous radio and TV broadcasts presenting travel tips, products and hotel/vacation deals for travelers of all types.

Dick Knodt

Before stepping down in 2006, Knodt served as president and CEO of, which he helped found in 1998.

In 1971 Knodt founded Carefree Travel, which would become one of Southern California's leading retail travel organizations.  

After serving as president of ASTA's San Diego chapter, he was tapped to serve as executive vice president and COO of ASTA from 1982 to 1984 and again from 1992 to 1998.

Robert Kwortnik

Kwortnik is an associate professor of services marketing at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. His research focuses on consumer behavior in service contexts, with special attention to service experience management.

His work has been published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Service Research and the International Journal of Research in Marketing.

John Lampl

Lampl, a consultant and freelance travel writer, spent four decades with British Airways, serving as vice president of corporate communications for the Americas, before retiring in 2011.

During his tenure he managed the carrier's launch of services from numerous U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Steve Loucks

Loucks is a longtime travel industry advocate, having served in various capacities as a public relations and communications strategist and practitioner.

Until May, Loucks served as chief communications officer for Travel Leaders Group. Prior to that he served for five years as the director of communications for ASTA. He has since chaired ASTA's public relations committee in a volunteer capacity.

Marc Mancini

Mancini is a travel industry speaker, educator and consultant who has authored or produced 12 books, 32 videos, 27 online courses and over 300 articles.

His firm helped design programs such as Marriott's Hotel Excellence, Holland America Line's HAL Academy and Norwegian Cruise Line's NCL University. While with CLIA, he was the creative force behind nearly 100 seminars, videos and online courses.

Rudy Maxa

Maxa is host of "Rudy Maxa's World," a nationally syndicated travel/talk radio show. He also hosts a series of "Rudy Maxa's World" TV programs that are broadcast on PBS stations throughout North America.

The former Washington Post investigative reporter began covering the travel industry in 1990 as a contributor to the public radio business program "Marketplace."

Kathy Misunas

A 40-year industry veteran, Misunas is a principal of Essential Ideas, a consultancy specializing in travel and tourism, technology and consumer e-retailing.

Previously she was president and CEO of the Sabre Group and senior vice president/chief information officer of AMR Corp., formerly the parent company of American Airlines.

Brian Robb

Robb is a travel industry consultant and serves as board chair for the Travel Institute.

He started his travel career in sales and sales management and followed that with roles at Carlson Cos., including global vice president of marketing. More recently, he focused on corporate and product strategies at La Macchia Enterprises.

Patricia Schultz

Schultz is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller "1,000 Places to See Before You Die," now in its revised second edition and with over 3 million copies in print and translated into 26 languages.  She also served as executive producer of the Travel Channel's TV show based on the book.

Wayne Wielgus

A hospitality industry veteran of more than 30 years, Wielgus is founder of the International Advisor Group, a consultancy for the hospitality industry.

Previously, he served as senior vice president of marketing for Celebrity and Azamara Cruises and executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Choice Hotels International.

Bruce Wolff

Before his retirement, Wolff held a number of executive positions with Marriott International, eventually serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing.  He is also a past national chairman of the U.S. Travel Association.

Prior to Marriott, Wolff worked in executive positions with New York Air, where he was in charge of sales and customer service; TWA, where he was in charge of global reservations and airline training; and Hickory Travel, where he was president. In 2006 he received ASTA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pam Wright

Wright retired from the Hertz Corp. in January after 32 years. She had been senior vice president, sales and operations, a position she had held since 2009.

Prior to that, she was Hertz's vice president of travel industry sales and marketing.

Before joining Hertz in 1984, she was ASTA's staff vice president of sales and membership services.

(View the 2017 Magellan Award winners.)


The Magellan Awards honor the best in travel and salute the outstanding travel professionals behind it all, from design to marketing to services.

The awards recognize a broad range of industry segments: Airlines and Airports, Cruise Lines, Destinations, Ground Transportation, Hospitality, Online Travel Services, Tour Operators and Travel Agents and Agencies.

Entrants submitted various multimedia elements, such as photos and videos; print materials; and websites, and a panel of 21 travel industry heavyweights judged the entries (none judged categories in which they work or have worked).

Entries do not compete with one another but are instead judged against a standard of excellence based on the long experience of Travel Weekly and considering the category entered.

Judges were asked, for example, to consider how relevant the elements of an entry were to its sector of the travel industry, how well designed the supporting elements were and whether they found the entry "appealing or intriguing."

Those entries scoring between 90 and 100 were given gold Magellans. These entries were considered by the judges to be clearly excellent and the best of the best. Entries scoring from 80 to 90 were deemed outstanding work and were awarded silver Magellans.

Therefore, there might be multiple gold or silver winners in a particular category, or only silver winners, or no winners at all.

(View the 2017 Magellan Award winners.)