Latest NATJA News

2017 NATJA Awards Winners Announced!
Thursday, February 08, 2018 10:00 AM

PASADENA CA - The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) has announced the winners of its 2017 NATJA Travel Media Awards Competition. Awards were given to publications, travel journalists, photographers whose work was published in print and online media from September 2016 through August 2017. Additionally, awards were given to the top destination marketing organizations. The competition, now in its 26th year, honors the “best of the best” in travel media. 

Click here to read the full announcement.

NATJA Advisory Board Meets in Idyllwild, CA
Friday, February 02, 2018 01:05 PM

NATJA Advisory Board Meets in Idyllwild, CA

 Last month, the NATJA Advisory Board held its first annual retreat where they discussed potential new member benefits and exciting professional development sessions for our annual conference. Hosted by NATJA members Marc Kassouf and Nathan DePetris, proprietors of Strawberry Creek Inn and Quiet Creek Inn, the naturally tranquil setting of the retreat created a serene environment, opening the door to innovate conversation and a healthy flow of ideas. The media attendees were Susan Cohn, Tonya Fitzpatrick, Jeffrey Lehmann, Shelly Rivoli, Nathan De Petris, Helen Hatzis & Tim Leffel, alongside attending CVB representatives Jo Duncan - The Beenders Walker Group, Francesca Donlan – Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Barbara Marrett – San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, Charles Winters – Huntsville/Madison County CVB, Kathryn Farrington – Discover Newport, RI. Advisory board not able to attend were Vickie Ashford, Gustavo Rivas-Solis, Dale Sanders, Robert Jerome. A big 'THANK YOU' to Marc and Nathan for hosting and everyone able to attend, we are excited to implement the thought provoking ideas generated from this inspiring retreat.



Advisory Board in Idyllwild, Ca First Annual Advisory Board Retreat   Photo Credit: Jeffrey Lehmann (Left to right:  Tim Leffel, Nathan DePetris, Barbara Marrett, Tonya Fitzpatrick, Yani Leon, Brittney Hernandez, Shelly Rivoli, Kathryn Farrington, Helen Hatzis, Francesca Donlan, Jeffrey  Lehmann, Helen Hernandez, Susan Cohn, Jo Duncan, and Marc Kassouf) 
Advisory Board 'Brain Storm' at Strawberry Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast  Photo Credit: Helen Hernandez [(Left to right) Photo 1 Jo Duncan, Tonya Fitzpatrick, Jeffrey Lehmann, Susan Cohn Photo 2 Shelly Rivoli, Brittney Hernandez, Helen Hatzis, Barbara Marrett, Francesca Donlan, and Yani Leon  Photo 3: Charles Winters, Nathan DePetris, Tim Leffel and Ben Root]



Holiday Greetings from NATJA Members
Friday, December 08, 2017 02:02 PM
With the Holiday Season in full swing, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays and thank you for continuing to be part of the NATJA Family. 
Inaugural Keith Bellows Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism Presented in Chapel Hill, NC
Thursday, June 22, 2017 07:53 PM

Keith Bellows Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism

Keith Bellows

The inaugural Keith Bellows Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism, sponsored by Visit Raleigh, was presented at the closing night event of the 2017 NATJA Conference to Keith's longtime friend, colleague, and NATJA member Andrew McCarthy, whose own work as a travel journalist embodies Keith's vision and passion for travel. The award was presented by Andrew Nelson, Editorial Projects Editor at National Geographic Traveler, who was first hired by Keith. The award honors the work of the late long time Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler who was a passionate lover of travel and a captivating storyteller. Special thanks to George Stone, current National Geographic Traveler Editor-in- Chief and Melina Bellows for their support in making this possible and to Visit Raleigh for their sponsorship of this award.

Keith Bellows Tribute by George Stone, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Traveler

Life was a quest for Keith. His mission was to search the world for new perspectives, ramble into serendipitous situations, ruffle a few feathers along the way, and, above all, seek awe. Keith’s unquenchable curiosity animated his work as an editor and inspired generations of explorers, from button-down journalists to bona fide weirdos, to open their hearts and minds to new experience. If we didn’t return home with a crackerjack tale, we’d best not return home at all. So it’s a daunting charge for me to follow in Keith’s footsteps as the editor of Traveler magazine. Keith gave me my first job out of college and it’s actually gotten harder ever day! All of us at National Geographic have been enriched by Keith. It is a tremendous honor to all of us who Keith encouraged and supported to know that his legacy will continue to sound the call for excellence in travel storytelling thanks to the NATJA award in his name. It’s fitting that Andrew McCarthy, a writer of grace and profound perception, should be the first to receive this prize. He and Keith were a mutual admiration society and everyone who loves travel writing has been a beneficiary of that mentorship and friendship. And it’s touching that Andrew Nelson, who in brilliant and charming ways carries on Keith’s maverick mission in travel, should have the pleasure of presenting this award, from one travel writer to another, in remembrance of a third, who got this whole beautiful, crazy celebration of wanderlust started in the first place.



Inaugural Keith Bellows Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism

Award designed by Silver Dollar City artisans, and provided
in collaboration with Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau

Keith Bellows Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism

Thank You to 

Visit Raleigh

for their Sponsorship



Goodbye, Chapel Hill and See You Next Year In...
Monday, May 22, 2017 05:02 PM

NATJA Thanks Chapel Hill/Orange County for an Amazing Conference

Thank you to Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau for all their hard work in making the 2017 NATJA Conference & Marketplace a roaring success. Extra special thanks to Director of Sales Marlene Barbera for her incredible organization and Executive Director Laurie Paolicelli for her leadership on what was undoubtedly one of the best NATJA Conferences yet. And of course, thank you to all of our attendees who joined us in discovering what make Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough such extraordinary towns. We hope you enjoyed every part of this conference as much as we enjoyed having you. 

If you missed all of the fun in Chapel Hill, make sure to check out #OCNC2017 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for posts, photos and videos from our attendees. You can also watch clips from the conference on NATJA's Facebook at

Videos of the professional development sessions will be uploaded soon to the website and will be accessible to all of our NATJA members. Not a member? Click here to join!



NATJA 2018: Branson, MO!



It's official - the 2018 NATJA Conference & Marketplace is being held in Branson, Missouri! Winners of the Destination Grand Prize in the 2016 NATJA Awards Competition, the Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau promises to provide an unforgettable experience to NATJA Conference attendees in 2018. We look forward to sharing more information with you in the coming months! 

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