Lo Bue-Said and Nuttall receive Outstanding Contribution honours at AAAs

More: Full list of Agent Achievement Award 2022 winners

Gallery: Agent Achievement Awards 2022

The chief executives of the Advantage Travel Partnership and the Travel Village Group have received the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry award at the Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards.

Julia Lo Bue-Said and Phil Nuttall were honoured for their achievements in the travel trade and leadership during the pandemic at the event, held in central London in association with headline sponsor Virgin Atlantic.

The Outstanding Contribution awards were sponsored by Avis, and were announced by the company’s head of international travel and partnerships, Stig Williams.

Accepting the honour in a pre-recorded video message, Lo Bue-Said said: “I am so grateful. I feel honoured and privileged to lead the most incredible team at Advantage, all of which have contributed hugely over the last couple of years and made a lot of personal sacrifices, and also Advantage membership, without whom I would not be doing what I do. I feel so indebted to be part of this organisation and part of this industry.”

Lo Bue-Said started her career on the shop floor, studying travel and tourism at college and working overseas before returning to the UK.

After holding a number of roles with tour operators and within travel retail, she joined the Advantage travel agency consortium, becoming managing director in 2013 and taking the reins as chief executive in 2018.

During the pandemic, she has been one of the travel trade’s most vocal representatives, and a tireless campaigner not just for the SMEs she represents, but for the wider industry.

In a reference to her efforts to raise awareness of the industry’s plight and continued efforts to lobby government, Lo Bue-Said pledged to carry on her work, saying: “That’s not going to stop, regardless.”

She added: “It’s quite clear when you try and affect change you are going to come up against resistance, but that’s not a reason not to give it a go, so I will be continuing to do all I can for the travel industry and also the travel agent community.”

Speaking after picking his award up on stage, Nuttall said: “This award means the world to me. I am so honoured. Travel is all I have ever wanted to do since I started stamping brochures for my grandad’s business. When I started in the business I was paid 10p for every 100 brochures I stamped and I used to read them all. I never did that well at school because I knew what I wanted to do.”

Nuttall praised his wife Paula for her support and encouragement over his four decades in travel, during which time he opened the first cruise-only agency in the UK and introduced a back office and technology into the business.

“I could not have done it without my wife Paula. She has supported me enormously throughout,” added Nuttall.

He also praised travel agents across the sector. “Travel agents are amazing,” he said.

Travel Weekly Group editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley said the two winners exemplified the outstanding agency owners and leaders who continue to guide their companies and members through unprecedented challenges.

She added: “I am delighted that Julia and Phil have received these honours for their tireless work and commitment to the future of the travel agency community.”

More: Full list of Agent Achievement Award 2022 winners

Gallery: Agent Achievement Awards 2022

Other winners from the night included:

Leisure agent of the year: Wendy Haines

A visibly emotional Haines said: “This means so much to me. The last 32 years of work have gone into this award. The industry has been lucky to survive this past two years and to come out on top and be recognised is amazing.”

Haines began her career in travel when she was in college, before working in retail for more than 20 years.

She said: “I took voluntary redundancy nine years ago and set up my own business which was the best thing I ever did. I absolutely love travel and I will never do anything else in my life.

“I want to thank my husband for helping me win this award,” she added. “He’s my biggest cheerleader.”

Leisure Manager of the Year: Chris Cooper, Barrhead Travel, Liverpool branch


Cooper said: “I am in shock, I can’t believe it. I am over the moon to win and so proud. In my 20 year career in travel I have never received an award like this before. This award is not just for me but also for my team.”

Agency Support Team Member of the Year: Blue Bay Travel’s Nina Fox


Fox said: “This feels amazing, it’s a massive surprise and I’m so happy. There’s 10 of us here tonight and I plan to celebrate by enjoying the after party with them.

“Throughout the pandemic when there were loads of cancellations I made sure I supported our colleagues as much as I could and kept customers informed throughout, whether by email or over the phone, and I think that’s why I’ve won this award tonight. I had to go above and beyond and so did the whole team. Hopefully there are more awards in the pipeline!”

Young Leisure Agent of the Year: Hays Travel’s Aaron Petty

Petty said: “I am over the moon, I didn’t expect to win at all. I opened my own business in the middle of a pandemic after I decided to become a homeworker so I could help my mum and dad look after three children they have taken special guardianship of. I was nervous to do it at first as I knew I wouldn’t make a wage, but within a year and a half I have done more than £1.5m in sales so it was definitely the right decision.

“It has been a crazy two years but I have always wanted to work in travel – it’s the best industry as no two days are the same.”

“To be recognised as the winner is amazing, I’m so happy,” he added.

More: Full list of Agent Achievement Award 2022 winners

Gallery: Agent Achievement Awards 2022


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