Austin, Texas has been awarded best destination at the News UK Travel Awards. Now in their fourth year, the ceremony was held in Las Vegas, 13th September, where twenty awards were given to the best destinations, hotels and travel companies as voted by readers of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.
Amid fierce competition the Live Music Capital of the World® took home The Sunday Times Travel Magazine editor’s award. Categories spanned the breath of the UK travel industry with British Airways, which operates a non-stop flight into Austin, winning the accolade of best airline.
“We are thrilled to garner such distinguished recognition,” said Julie Chase, Austin CVB CMO & VP. “Austin’s visitors from the UK have steadily increased as a result of the daily non-stop British Airways flight which started nearly two and half years ago. We have no doubt that we will continue to see this number increase and that Austin has many uncovered treasures to explore.”
Sunday Times Travel Magazine Editor, Ed Grenby, commented, “This year I visited a place where perfect strangers insisted on buying me drinks, and where the beautiful, charming and otherwise apparently sane young women beside them kept asking me to dance.
And what tiny little never-seen-a-tourist-before town was this? Somewhere in Central Asia, perhaps, or in deepest South America? Nope, the dance proposals were in honky-tonks, and the drinks, catastrophically, were ‘two-step’s (a beer with a bourbon chaser). This was southern hospitality; and the town was Austin, Texas.
That friendliness is only part of the package, too. I ate better (and with greater variety of styles) than on any other city break I’ve taken in the last decade; I shopped better (with not a chain store in sight); I swam in clear green lakes and rivers; toured surprisingly brilliant museums; and watched 1.5 million bats – simultaneously, spectacularly – leave their roost underneath one of the city’s most-used car bridges. And then there’s the music. Austin bills itself as ‘Live Music Capital Of The World’, but that big ol’ Texan hyperbole is more than justified: every bar, café – and street corner – has a band or a busker with the kind of talent that could fill Wembley (and maybe will, one day).
Austin is one of the buzziest – but somehow also most laidback – cities I’ve ever been to, a joy to discover (and it’s easy to do so now, too, thanks to the direct route from Heathrow with British Airways). Just practise saying ‘no’ to those drinks offers (Or not).”
Best airline – British Airways
Best city – London
Best country – Italy
Best escorted tour operator – Great Rail Journeys
Best European and UK hotel – Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Best long haul hotel – Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St Lucia
Best luxury tour operator – Audley
Best ocean cruise operator – P&O Cruises
Best river cruise operator – Viking River Cruises
Best specialist tour operator – Voyages Jules Verne
Best tour operator – Trailfinders
The Times travel editor’s award – Scott Dunn
The Sunday Times Travel Magazine editor’s award – Austin, Texas
The Sunday Times travel editor’s Award – Paris, France
About Austin CVB
The Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing and sales organization for the City of Austin. An accredited member of the Destination Marketing Association International, the Austin CVB is charged with marketing Austin nationally and internationally as a premier business and leisure destination, thus enriching our community's overall quality of life. Locally, travel supports an estimated 58,000 jobs and pumps approximately $6.8 billion into Austin’s economy.