Wanderlust Travel Awards 2014: WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Who was your top tour-operator? Which airline soared above the rest? And where was crowned your top travel destination? You nominated in your thousands, so read on to find out…

At the end of 2013, we asked you – the Wanderlust readers – to tell us about your year in travel. We wanted to know where you'd been, who with, what equipment brands you had used, and what you thought of them all. The results are in!

In many categories we asked you to list up to four entries (eg countries visited) and score each one on its merits. The final positions were based on an average score for the entry (converted to a percentage) – so the results are based on satisfaction rather than the number of votes. In categories where no percentage is shown (eg travel gear; TV shows) the results were simply based on number of votes cast.

Thanks to Páramo for offering entrants the chance to win a cool £250 worth of travel gear. Thanks also to everyone who took the time to share their travel highs and lows with us, to give us a true picture of what travellers really think.

Top Country: Namibia

Ranking %

1. Namibia 96.92%

2. New Zealand 96.36

2. Colombia 96.36

4. Myanmar/Burma 96.13

5. Ecuador 95.83

6. Tanzania 95.33

7. Japan 95.15

8. Chile 94.62

9. Scotland 94.17

10. Laos 93.19

We love Namibia, which last topped the table in 2011, and it seems that
you're just as taken with Africa's great conservation success story.
Rising from last year’s sixth place, it takes the top spot once again,
to be crowned Wanderlust Readers’ Top Country 2014.

Highlights include the mighty dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, the twists and turns of Fish River Canyon (the world’s second-biggest gorge), and an astonishing array of wildlife. Home to the world's largest population of both cheetahs and black rhinos, Namibia also offers whale-watching opportunities off Swakopmund and the chance of spotting desert elephants in Damaraland. Explore the German colonial town of Lüderitz and nearby Kolmanskop, an eerily deserted diamond-mining ghost town, for an insight into the country's past.

Wanderlust’s co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Lyn Hughes, who visited in 2013, is in full agreement, "I'm not surprised Namibia has won. It offers great value, an excellent infrastructure and world-class adventures. On top of that, the people value the wildlife, and so it is the only country in the world with a growing population of rhinos, elephants and lions. They thoroughly deserve this award."

As well as Namibia, Myanmar/Burma and Colombia held on to top 10 places from last year. Perennial favourite New Zealand climbs to second place – after spending three years in third.

You've been everywhere! Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chad all received nominations. And Borneo received so many votes that, were it a country, it would have been in contention for the top spot.

Top Emerging Destination: Mongolia

1. Mongolia 96.67%

=2. Tajikistan 95.15

=2. Venezuela 95.15

4. Taiwan 94.28

5. Georgia 94

Big skies and huge expanses of near-empty land epitomise Mongolia. There are few roads, and nomadic herders still roam the steppe as they have for centuries. In this busy, increasingly homogenised world, it's easy to see why it's your Top Emerging Destination 2013.

Top City: Bagan

1. Bagan, Myanmar/Burma 97.50%

2. Luang Prabang, Laos 95.71

3. Hoi An, Vietnam 94.33

4. Venice, Italy 94.19

5. San Francisco, USA 94.12

6. Cusco, Peru 93.85

7. New York, USA 93.51

8. Edinburgh, UK 93.08

9. Cape Town, South Africa 92.97

10. Tallinn, Estonia 92.63

With a whopping 97.50% satisfaction rating, Bagan is your winner this year. You racked up over 768 cities on your travels! From Bognor to Ouagadougou, Abidjan to Zwolle. Hanoi was the most visited city, followed by London, Hoi An and Paris!

Top UK Destinations: Lake District

1. Lake District

2. London

3. Cornwall

4. Edinburgh

5. Peak District

6. Scottish Highlands

7. Northumberland

8. Yorkshire Dales National Park

9. Snowdonia

10. Bath

Even cosmopolitan London was no match for the breathtaking views and rural charm of the Lake District. It's your top UK destination.

Top Tour Operator: Bamboo Travel

1. Bamboo Travel 100%

2. Selective Asia 99.80

=3. Llama Travel 97.89

=3. Wild Frontiers 97.89

5. Trailfinders 94.5

6. HF Holidays 93.08

7. Audley Travel 92.05

8. KE Adventure Travel 91.11

9. Discover the World 90.59

=10. Voyages Jules Verne 90.48

=10. Undiscovered Destinations 90.48

You travelled with 450 different companies this year, and the standard of service is so high that it took 90% in traveller satisfaction to make the top 10; no mean feat! With a flawless 100%, Bamboo Travel takes the crown this year but it was a close-run thin between the Asia specialists; Selective Asia came a close second with 99.80%. Trailfinders, Discover the World, Voyages Jules Verne and Undiscovered Destinations all storm back on to your list after missing out last year.

Top Airline: Air New Zealand

1. Air New Zealand 95%

2. Singapore Airlines 92.86

3. Emirates 90.98

4. Qantas 85.58

5. Qatar Airways 85.53

6. Thai Airways International 85.51

7. Swiss International Air Lines 85

8. Cathay Pacific 84.32

9. Norwegian 83.85

10. Malaysia Airlines 83.80

After five consecutive years on top, Singapore Airlines have been ousted by Air New Zealand who took second place in last year's survey. The Kiwi airline triumphed over more than 200 other carriers. Its hospitality and reliability have won you over, with a little help from some hilarious Hobbit-themed in-flight elf-and-safety videos.

Top Worldwide Airport: Singapore Changi

1. Singapore Changi 94.22%

2. Hong Kong International 90.48

3. Amsterdam Schipol 86.93

4. Vancouver 85.56

5. Munich 84.21

6. Keflavik, Reykjavik 83.81

7. Tokyo Narita 83.64

8. Helsinki 83.2

9. Dubai 81.40

10 Cape Town 81.77

Singapore’s multi-award winning Changi has never, ever, lost its place as your favourite airport. And out of the 475 airports you used this year, that’s quite something. More impressive still is its satisfaction rating which keeps on climbing.

Top UK Airport: Southampton

1. Southampton 87.5%

2. London City 87.19

3. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 82.5

4. Birmingham Int 82

5. Inverness 80

6. Edinburgh 79.29

7. Aberdeen 76.92

8. Bristol International 75

9. Liverpool (John Lennon) 75

10. Manchester 74.79

Southampton and London City have been fighting it out for the past few years; Southampton comes out on top as your favourite UK Airport 2014. But, if London Heathrow Terminal 5 were an airport it would have won… and with a few more nominations, Kirkwall in the Orkneys could have taken the crown. Watch out for next year!

Top Guidebook Series: Cicerone

1. Cicerone 83.94%

2. Dorling Kindersley 82.12

3. Bradt 81.99

4. Lonely Planet 79.66

5. Rough Guides 75.66

6. Time Out 75.49

7. Footprint 74.51

8. Trailblazer 74.50

9. Blue Guides 73.88

10. Cadogan 72.50

Find the right niche and you can conquer the world. Cicerone, a series of informative guidebooks specially designed for walkers, trekkers, climbers and cyclists, prove just that, arriving out of nowhere to take victory. After two years on top, DK have to settle for second with the pioneering and authoritative Bradt guides a worthy third.

Top Equipment Brand: Rohan

1. Rohan

2. North Face

3. Craghoppers

4. Berghaus

5. RAB

6. Kathmandu

7. Patagonia

8. Mountain Warehouse

=10. Keen

=10. Jack Wolfskin

Rohan has an impressive range of products for all you travellers out there, from waterproofs to security… and they have taken the top spot every year bar one.

Rohan aren’t the only winners in this category though, you are too! Wanderlust readers can save 10% on any purchase with the coupon code WL37 at www.rohan.co.uk

Top TV or Radio Programme

1.  Australia with Simon Reeve

2. Africa

3. Rick Stein's India

4. Great Continental Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo

5. Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve

6. Idiot Abroad

7. Countryfile

8. Brazil with Michael Palin

9. Downton Abbey

10. Coast

Simon Reeve hit the top spot in 2011 with Tropic of Cancer and again in 2012 with his fascinating documentary on the Indian Ocean, now down in sixth place. He’s back in winning form this year with his three-part series exploring the  Australian continent nudging out Africa, another Attenborough wildlife epic. Chef Rick Stein's culinary tour of India, in search of the Subcontinent's greatest dishes, snatched third.

Travel Blog of the Year

'My hammam experience in Marrakech' by Emily Luxton

Wanderlust.co.uk's readers loved Emily's evocative account of a visit to a traditional Moroccan steam room or hammam. Emily's article received more traffic than any other entry to Wanderlust's Blog of the Week competition and earns the prestigious title Travel Blog of the Year.

Outstanding Achievement Award

The South American Handbook, published by Footprint Travel Guides

A worthy winner, this invaluable handbook has been a loyal companion to many of the Wanderlust team on their travels in South America. It celebrates its 90th birthday this year.

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