The 2024 Luxury Travel Gold List Awards jury is here

2024 Luxury Travel Gold List Awards Jury

This year’s Luxury Travel Gold List Awards jury brings decades’ worth of experience and expertise in the travel industry to ensure the best of the best are chosen as this year’s finalists

The 2024 Luxury Travel Gold List Awards are now open for submissions across 26 distinguished categories, aimed at finding the best in innovation, sustainability and excellence across the luxury travel sector. Click here for submission instructions.

The new and revised categories for this year’s Gold List Awards reflect the changing landscape of luxury travel. In order to showcase the best of the best, we’re relying on the keen eye of our prestigious jury panel. Each year the jury rotates, bringing more expert eyes to the Gold List Awards to ensure only the best of the best are chosen as winners.

To ensure the Luxury Travel Gold List Awards is relevant and meaningful, we will pair these exemplary juror insights with a readers’ voting program, ensuring the Luxury Travel Gold List Awards is a true reflection of the best in class across the travel and tourism industry. Our Gold List Awards jury panel along with their illustrious careers are presented below.

Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor, Timeout

Alice Ellis is the Sydney Editor at Time Out. After having earned a degree in Communications from UTS, she honed her writing and editing skills at magazines like Virgin Australia’s in-flight mag and Women’s Health, where she rose to deputy editor and won the Nutrition Journalism Award. Her love for sport, particularly women’s sport, led her to embark on marketing and content roles at the NRL and One Playground before returning to media at Time Out. Alice’s passion for writing, editing, and her hometown of Sydney shines through in her work and personal life, where she enjoys exploring the city with her family. Her expertise in the hospitality industry make her the perfect choice to judge the gourmet categories this year.

Anthony Goldman
Joint Managing Director, Goldman Travel Group

Anthony Goldman is the Joint Managing Director of Goldman Travel Group. After starting his career in travel, Anthony left the family business and forged a successful 20-year career in advertising and marketing. Anthony worked for several global organisations, including J Walter Thompson, Leo Burnett and Village Roadshow.

In 2012, Anthony joined his father, Tom, and brother, David, and embarked on an expansion program for Goldman Travel Group. Anthony is currently Chair of the Global Virtuoso Member Advisory Board, the first non-US member to hold this position, and is a Board Director of Link Travel Group.

Bernadette Chua
Content Editor, Big Splash Media

Bernadette Chua

Bernadette Chua is the Content Director at Big Splash Media, overseeing all cruise, travel, finance and contract publishing. With a background in production for digital and print mediums, she brings a wealth of experience to the Gold List Awards jury. She is currently the Editor of luxury magazine, Cruise & Travel, as well as website, Cruise Passenger.

She was at the heart of the rebrand from Cruise Passenger to Cruise & Travel, which now covers the best in luxury destinations, hotels, experiences and airlines. She was also part of the launch team that created Explore for Australian Community Media – the brand’s weekly travel print insert that is distributed through publications like The Canberra Times and The Newcastle Herald.

Her expertise in content creation spans podcast, radio and television, and she has been a regular expert on Talking Lifestyle, discussing the cruise and travel industry. Bernadette is also a host on Cruise Passenger’s podcast, Onboard with Cruise Passenger.

Brett Jardine
Managing Director, Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO)

Brett has over three decades of experience across the travel industry and since 2017, has overseen the transformation of CATO, a 23-year-old industry body that is the voice of the land-supply sector representing Australian tour operators and wholesalers.

Prior to his current role, Brett was at the helm of the Australasian office of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) from 2007 to 2017 during a period of significant and sustained growth for the cruise industry.

Danny Englman
Managing Director, FBI Travel

Danny Englman serves as the Joint Managing Director at FBI Travel, overseeing both the Leisure Team and the Independent Contractors associated with the agency. Danny embarked on his journey in the travel industry in 2004 and joined FBI Travel in 2006 as a Travel Advisor. He assumed the role of Leisure Team Manager in 2012 and took charge of the Independent Contractor team a year later.

Danny has served on the Virtuoso Advisory Board and today he serves on Virtuoso’s Regional Membership Advisory Board. He has also held honorary Advisory Board memberships for Tauck Tours and the Luxperience Trade Show and was honoured with the title of “Best Travel Agency Manager” in Australia by AFTA at the NTIA (National Travel Industry Awards) in 2017.

Dayana Brooke
Sustainability Scientist and Consultant, Dayana Brooke Sustainability

Dayana Brooke is a travel industry expert with over two decades of experience. However, her passion for sustainability and being an environmentalist truly sets her apart. As the founder of The Sustainable Traveller, she dedicates her energy and passion to advocating for travel experiences that prioritise the natural environments, communities, and low carbon emissions.

With a Masters in Sustainability and extensive knowledge of the impact of travel on the planet, Dayana helps businesses to take action by adopting simple yet effective measures, setting achievable goals to reduce emissions, and embracing innovation for positive changes.

Desmond Campbell
CEO, Welcome to Country

Desmond Campbell (Jangala/Gojok) is a proud Gurindji and Ngalakan/Alawa man who has a deep passion and wealth of experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to achieve control and self-determination for First Nations communities as a whole.

As CEO of Welcome to Country Desmond has become a leading voice in the Indigenous Tourism Industry. Desmond has spoken at Tourism Australia’s signature Destination Australia Conference, the Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit, numerous private corporate events, media engagements and all levels of government. Desmond is committed to elevating Welcome to Country as a First Nations led social enterprise and its vision for elevating First Nations’ prosperity through economic opportunity. Welcome to Country currently have over 180 First Nations’ products and experiences listed through their platform and aim to grow there substantially.

Jan Henderson
Editor & Program Director

Jan Henderson Headshot

Jan Henderson is currently an Editor and Program Director of the INDE.Awards at Indesign Media Asia Pacific. Her previous roles have included Acting-editor of Indesign magazine, Associate Publisher at Architecture Media, Editor and Co-editor of inside magazine and Interiors Editor of As Principal of Henderson Media Consultants she contributes to various architecture and design magazines, is a regular speaker at events and has participated as a juror for industry awards. Jan is passionate about design and through her different roles supports and contributes to design in Australia.

Jenny Evans
Managing Director, Traveltalk Media

Jenny Evans brings a unique blend of experience and expertise to the travel industry, having transitioned from a successful career in financial IT. Jenny’s journey into the travel industry during COVID demonstrates her resilience and adaptability. Despite being new to the field, she has quickly made her mark with her fresh perspective and innovative ideas.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Jenny’s personal experiences have shaped her passion for travel. Having lived in various countries, including the UK, Singapore, and Australia, and travelled extensively, she brings a global perspective and cultural sensitivity to her role. Her deep love for travel fuels her dedication to making a positive impact in the industry and driving Traveltalk Media to new heights.

Joleena Seah
Managing Director, GHC Asia

After more than 20 years of luxury hospitality experience with some of the world’s most iconic brands, Joleena crossed the fence to join leading PR agency, GHC Asia, in 2019. Her current portfolio comprises critically-acclaimed hotel brands, luxury cruise lines, premium real estate, two of the region’s renowned travel trade shows as well as a bespoke travel designer. With her rare knowledge of hotel operations complemented by strong connections in the tourism industry, Joleena adds a fresh perspective to her strategic counsel that is aligned with the evolving needs of her prestigious clients. A passionate traveller with an insatiable appetite for new travel experiences, Joleena has been vigorously ticking off her Bucket List since Singapore’s border reopened.

Katherine Droga
Chair, Global Wellness Institute

Katherine Droga is passionate about the transformational effect travel can have for people and the planet. She is founder of several successful global wellness platforms including Well Traveller and Well Traveller TV, Wellness wander and Australia’s premiere wellness industry event the Wellness Tourism Summit and its sister event Wellness Tourism Unearthed. Her consultancy firm, Droga & Co., specialises in wellness and sustainable strategy development for destinations, tourism experiences and events worldwide. Katherine is also proud to be the Chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Tourism Initiative, a global think tank and research on wellness travel trends.

Kris Abbey
Founder, Spa & Wellness Magazine

Kris has been a wellness advocate since she was 15! She has studied Science, Exercise Physiology, PE and nutrition, and spends her time writing, speaking, and consulting on all things Spa and wellness.

She publishes Spa & Wellness Magazine and online directory, inspiring readers to explore wellness in all its forms. Wellness and wellness tourism is a true love, and it is unlikely anyone has visited more wellness retreats around the world than Kris!

Her most recent undertaking is launching the Asia Pacific Spa & Wellness awards giving recognition to people and properties dedicated to improving the lives of others!

Kylee Daniel
Director of Partnerships, NZ Māori Tourism
New Zealand

After spending two decades in senior global roles across various sectors such as corporate, sports, major events, tourism, and government, Kylee is now working at New Zealand Māori Tourism. She is passionate about her contribution to the organisation, where she combines her corporate and industry experience to provide better marketing opportunities for Māori-owned tourism businesses and support their aspirations.

Kylee works closely with Tourism NZ and other influential industry and trade partners to leverage and maximise their global and national activity, improve narrative and storytelling, grow knowledge, create meaningful connections, and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Louise Goldsbury

Louise is a freelance travel writer, who specialises in luxury cruising. She has sailed on 100 ocean, river and expedition cruises across seven continents. Louise also creates guides to make cruising less confusing – every step from choosing a cruise line to packing tips and saving money, available at Louise’s free Cruisey Life newsletter.

Lyndey Milan OAM
Author, Celebrity Chef, Presenter, Judge

Lydney Milan

As one of Australia’s most trusted and respected food and wine icons, Lyndey was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her “services to hospitality, particularly to the food and wine industry, and to the community.” With more than four decades of experience, expertise and education, Lyndey is an accomplished author, award-winning celebrity chef, multimedia presenter, host, judge, EmCee, speaker, honoured industry leader, advocate, ambassador and in-demand consultant. Lyndey is also a popular tour host to Puglia, Japan and Morocco and an Enrichment Speaker for Silversea Cruises and P&O Cruises.

Lyndey’s dedication to connecting people is driven by her belief that food, wine and culture are powerful tools for creating meaningful connections. Lyndey’s ultimate goal is for people to experience connection, nourishment and inspiration through the universality of food.

Lynne Ireland
Managing Director, Inspired Luxury

Lynne Ireland has dedicated her career to launching and marketing inspiring hotels and experiences globally and was at the forefront of developing the luxury boutique hotel niche within the Asia Pacific. She is currently managing director at Inspired Luxury.

Creating award winning strategies, Lynne is an early adopter and innovator, with an innate understanding of luxury, together with the importance of wellness, community, and sustainability, with first initiatives developed 25 years ago.

Multiple award winner of ‘Brand Management of the Year’ at HM Awards for Excellence, ‘PR Communicator of the Year’ by the ASTW, Lynne also served on the Boards/Advisory of ASTW, IMM, HSMAI and the Bestest Charity.

Madelin Tomelty
Editor, Luxury Travel Magazine

Madelin is the editor of Luxury Travel, leading the brand’s editorial voice both in print and online. Having began her career in fashion writing and editing, she transitioned to travel journalism in 2015 and since then has held various editorships in both print and digital media. In 2018, she became the Digital Editor & Features Writer at the previous iteration of Luxury Travel, where she led the successful redesign and relaunch of while penning long-form cover stories and features for the magazine. Madelin has also worked as a freelance copywriter for prestigious travel brands and has extensive experience as a presenter and host. She brings a strong interest in the constant evolution of the luxury travel market – along with a deep understanding of the modern Australian luxury traveller – to her role as juror in the Luxury Travel Gold List Awards this year.

Melinda Gregor
Managing Director, Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel

With more than 35 years in the travel industry, Melinda has worked in almost every area imaginable. Starting her journey with Qantas Holidays, she travelled the world extensively as an eagle-eyed 20-something. Melinda then relocated to Egypt to escort tour groups for three years through the most exotic parts of the Middle East, including Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria and Turkey. On returning to Australia, she became Operations Manager with the world’s leader in luxury, bespoke travel, Abercrombie & Kent. During her five years at A&K Melinda huddled with gorillas in Uganda, discovered palaces in India, trekked to Machu Picchu, cruised to Antarctica and explored the luxury lodges and game parks of Africa. Melinda then had two seasons at the exclusive El Questro in the Kimberley in Western Australia, before deciding to settle on the Sunshine Coast in 2004. Melinda with brother Stuart, launched Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel in 2008.

ver the last 18 years Melinda has also become an avid cruiser particularly on small ships (under 1200 people) and is the highest ranked Master Cruise Consultant on the Sunshine Coast, as recognised by the International Cruise Council of Australia. Melinda attends Virtuoso Travel Week annually and has attended ILTM (international Luxury Travel Mart) on many occasions.

Philip Englberts
Founder & Managing Director, PEPR Agency

Philip Engelberts is the founder and managing director of PEPR Agency, which is currently celebrating its 20th year in business. Over his 25-year career in Australia, Philip has built a reputation as a trusted public relations and communications advisor.

Leading a team of eight, specialising in hotels, cruise, destination management and travel distribution, Philip has been awarded communicator of the year by the Australian society of travel writers multiple times.

Rachel Kingswell
General Manager, Travel Associates AU NZ

Rachel Kingswell is responsible for managing and overseeing the luxury boutique Travel Associates retail network of 60 businesses in Australia and New Zealand. She also leads the operational aspects of the Luxury Travel Collection’s independent portfolio of members. With 23 years of experience in the travel industry, Rachel began her career on the retail frontline and has since held various roles in retail sales, management, and operations in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Rachel’s expertise in luxury travel enables her to deliver high-touch service and represent both Travel Associates and Luxury Travel Collection brands effectively. She is known for her commitment to authentic partnerships, genuine connections, and caring for individuals beyond just achieving results.

Sheriden Rhodes
Freelance Travel Writer

Sheriden is a travel writer and photographer with a particular soft spot for islands, good coffee and infinity pools. She’s a self-confessed Fiji-phile having visited the island nation almost thirty times while she’s also traipsed the globe visiting everywhere from Vietnam to Laos, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Hungary, Germany and Vanuatu – often with her now teen daughter in tow.

Recently she sailed from Budapest to Amsterdam on a river cruise, castle spotting and cycling along the Danube. She was also in Bali for Niyepe Day (day of silence) before heading to the Komodo Islands, home to the giant Komodo Dragon. Her stories have appeared in leading Australian and international publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, the Australian Financial Review, Qantas the Australian Way, Country Style, the Robb Report, NZ Herald and many others.

Sujata Raman
Former Managing Director AU/NZ, Abercrombie & Kent

Sujata Raman has had an impressive career in luxury travel and hospitality in three continents, working in Asia, the Middle East and Australia. In her most recent role as Regional Head for an award-winning luxury travel company, Sujata set up offices across Australia, New Zealand and China. Her keen eye for genuine luxury, coupled with a deep interest in travel trends, formed the basis of an ever-changing product portfolio and development of innovative travel products. Sujata’s love of travel has seen her cross the globe, searching out innovative travel experiences for sophisticated travellers desiring real understanding of the wider world.

Susie Westwood
Managing Director, The Brandman Agency

Susie Westwood

Susie Westwood is a luxury travel leader and director of The Brandman Agency, Sydney. The agency has offices in New York, Los Angeles and London as well as Sydney and takes a global approach with its prestigious stable of travel, tourism, design and hospitality clients.

Susie’s background encompasses many successful years with the Vogue magazines Australia – Vogue Australia, Vogue Entertaining & Travel and Vogue Living Australia as an editor and writer and additionally in promotional roles, such as director of Public Relations, whilst they were published by The Condé Nast Publications in Australia and following.

Together with Melanie Brandman, Founder and CEO, The Brandman Agency, New York, Susie launched The Brandman Agency Australia in November 2011.

Thushara Liyanarachchi
Director Global Sales, Taj

Thushara Liyanarachchi-BW photos-365x464

Thushara Liyanarachchi is a name which for many, symbolises inspiration, diligence & professionalism with warmth. Having joined the Luxury Hotel Group Taj, as a management trainee, twenty-five years ago, Thushara, through her hard work and dedication and an unparalleled zeal to deliver best results in the least given time, has risen to Director Global Sales – Australia and New Zealand. Thushara has successfully developed and nurtured relationships with Global consortia, Fortune 500 companies, both Federal & State Governments and incentive houses. Her in-depth knowledge and ability to gauge the subtle market changes makes her indispensable in every role and responsibilities at the highest level, both for inbound and outbound businesses out of Australia and New Zealand.

Tracey Leitch
Owner & Director, Impressions Marketing Communications

Tracey established Impressions Marketing Communications over two decades ago and has had an extensive and vibrant career in communications. A Postgraduate Business degree at the beginning of this journey.

Significant results have been generated for all clients across print, broadcast, web, social media and key influencer platforms which have in turn contributed significantly to their business profile, growth and success.

Tracey is a current member of The Australian Society Of Travel Writers  The Travmedia network and the national PR hub The Social Diary.

Yvonne Verstandig
Managing Director, Y Travel

Yvonne Verstandig is the founder and Director of Y Travel, Australia’s premier luxury, purpose-led travel agency. With a team of experienced travel advisors, including those from boutique Virtuoso agency Trans World Travel, Yvonne curates hyper-personalised itineraries based on each traveller’s unique ‘travel DNA.’ Unique to Y Travel is Yvonne’s catalogue of eight specific ‘Y Factors’, which she personally developed as a way of categorising travel according to travellers’ different portals of passion. A tangible tool to encourage them to discover their “Travel Why”.

Some of Yvonne’s exceptional achievements include being Virtuoso’s Most Admired Advisor for the APAC region and receiving global nominations for Virtuoso’s ‘Most Innovative Advisor’. Her influential role extends to advisory boards such as Belmond’s and Silversea’s, shaping the industry as a luminary and leader in luxury travel.

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