Katie Macleod, of Eagleton and New York and journalist and feature-writer for EVENTS newspaper for more than ten years, has won further major recognition for her worldwide travel blog, www.storiesmysuitcasecouldtell.com
She has come second in the annual awards for Travel Blogger of the Year, between writers for National Geographic Traveller magazine and for the Lonely Planet Guide. She is pictured above with Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis during an interview in 2015.
The awards were made by the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) which is an umbrella organisation that represents 122 of Britain's best independent tour operators.
Katie said on Twitter: "So excited to see my name here in second place - in between Nat Geo Traveller and Lonely Planet. And all for my story about a sailing adventure with @seaharris in the @OuterHebs! #AITOTWOTY18 "
AITO members “specialise in destinations or types of holiday about which they are particularly passionate, meaning they are uniquely placed to provide personalised advice based on first-hand experience.
“All AITO members are required to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction by concentrating on three main pillars: Choice, Quality and Service – as enshrined in our Quality Charter. We feel it’s thanks to these three qualities that AITO companies consistently dominate consumer-voted travel awards every year.
“Every company admitted to AITO is financially assessed and bound by AITOs own code of business practice which demands clear and accurate descriptions of holidays and the use of customer questionnaires for monitoring standards. Our members are also encouraged to participate in raising awareness among staff, customers and suppliers of the importance of sustainable tourism.
“So consider AITO.com your one-stop holiday shop! This website showcases the incredible range of holidays offered by our members to every corner of the globe.
“Some of them can only be found here on this website and are not freely available on Britain's high streets, while others are offered by selected nationwide retailers called AITO Specialist Travel Agents.
Below is one of Katie's scene-setting photographs…