A travel company based in the English Lake District has been crowned the ‘Best Small Tour Operator to Western Europe’ in the prestigious British Travel Awards 2012.
Archipelago Choice – based in Keswick – specialises in organising tailor-made activity holidays to the Azores and Cape Verde.
It’s the first major award for the family run business, recognising their expertise in the Azores.
Director Sarah Bennett, said: “It’s very exciting to receive this award because it reflects the quality of service we provide to the people from all over the world who travel with us to the Azores every year. Because we know the islands so well, our clients have an authentic experience which supports the local independent accommodation and activity providers. Almost all of our customers say that their holiday with us is the best they’ve ever had.”
Her husband and fellow Director, Ian Coates, said: “It is a very prestigious travel award, chosen by consumers. For a small company like us, it is a recognition that we are doing really well, especially considering we are competing with much bigger companies. We pride ourselves in knowing the islands intimately and therefore we can recommend the best places to stay and the most wonderful things to do.”
British Travel Awards’ Chief Executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “This year more than one million votes were cast by consumers to determine the winners of the coveted British Travel Awards. The Awards were created to reward travel companies, with the winning accolade being the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who really is the best in the business for the UK consumer. Archipelago Choice is to be congratulated on their achievement.”
The stunning Azores archipelago straddles the mid-Atlantic ridge around 950 miles west of Lisbon. These Portuguese islands are a cross between Hawaii and New Zealand but just three and a half hours flight time from the UK.
The nine islands maintain an old world charm that is difficult to find anywhere else in Europe. They benefit from a mild all-year-round climate, spectacular scenery of high craters, boiling pools, subtropical vegetation and cascading waterfalls and not forgetting the friendly people!
Archipelago Choice has been operating since 1998 and specialises in organising tailor-made activity holidays to all nine islands. They offer 140 handpicked places to stay around the islands including converted windmills, basalt cottages and boutique hotels.
There is an ever-increasing range of activities on offer from canyoning to swimming with dolphins, from cycling quiet lanes to walking the crater rims, from sailing to horse riding and much more. The company also specialise in bespoke family holidays, honeymoons and private groups.
In addition, they offer whale and dolphin watching, diving, kayaking (sea and crater lake), mountain biking, jeep tours, birdwatching holidays, geotours, golf and fishing! Something for everyone.
Archipelago Choice is committed to sustainable tourism and supporting environmental projects in the destinations it promotes. In the Azores, the company supports the Azorean Bullfinch and in Cape Verde, Loggerhead turtles. They are a member of AITO and have achieved their 5 star sustainable tourism award. To find out more about what travel companies must do to qualify to be a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators – visit AITO’s Quality charter. http://www.aito.co.uk/corporate_QualityCharter.asp