Scotland tour operator Macs Adventure wins Gold at British Travel Awards

The Macs team celebrate with Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice

MACS Adventure, the world’s number one, self-guided walking and cycling tour operator beat off competition from some of the biggest names in the industry to scoop gold at the 2022 travel ‘Oscars’ – held at London’s Battersea Evolution centre and hosted by TV presenter Alison Hammond. 

The leading, self-guided travel experts walked away with the award for the UK’s Best Medium Sized Travel Company in Walk, Trek and Cycling holidays. 

The British Travel Awards gala evening followed a July-October public vote in 62 categories covering a comprehensive range of products and services experienced by customers when planning, booking, and going on their travels. 

Since 2008 the British Travel Awards has been polling public opinion on the performance of companies and enterprises operating in the leisure travel and tourism sector. This year’s event attracted more than 618,000 entries and the ceremony is regarded as the industry’s leading awards, and UK’s largest consumer voted programme. 

BTA director of events and partnerships, Lorraine Barnes Burton, said: “Travel companies have had a tough time during the pandemic, but it is wonderful to be back travelling again and receiving a British Travel Award heralds a promising start to 2023.  Understandably, votes were up by 158% on the 2020 voting figures, showing that consumers really missed travelling, and are keen to have their say when it comes to those all-important holidays. Macs Adventure are to be congratulated on their award!” 

The award caps off a phenomenal year for Macs Adventure who have seen trading in 2022 rise above-pandemic levels. The company is also overseeing ambitious growth plans for both the UK and international markets and have recently created 100 new job roles as they expand their team across the UK, Saarbrücken, Germany, and Colorado in America. 

2023 will mark the 20th anniversary of Macs Adventure and founder Neil Lapping is relishing the journey ahead: 

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Macs as a business. We are seeing a huge demand for self-guided walking and cycling holidays. We believe that international expansion will be a key component of our growth, particularly in the US where the self-guided category is still in its infancy. I am confident we will achieve our goal of growing the business fourfold in the next five years.”

He added: “More than ever, people want to spend their time outdoors and are looking to achieve something on their travels. They want to immerse themselves in destinations and make a positive impact. Being on two feet or two wheels is the ideal way for travellers to do that. 

It is 20 years since I took our first clients on the West Highland Way in 2003. Much has changed since then – with technology and apps transforming how people navigate on their self-guided holidays. But what is clear is that demand for this type of travel has never been stronger.”

The company, which offers the largest selection of self-guided trips of any UK tour operator, have succeeded by focusing on walking and cycling holidays, and working with local suppliers, and listening to customer feedback to understand what people want from their adventures.  

The self-guided experts are predicting an increase in demand for active holidays and slower adventures both across the UK and internationally, with Portugal, Japan and New Zealand identified as ‘hotspots’ for the forthcoming year. 

Chief Growth Officer, Graham Horner, who collected the award on behalf of Macs, said: “We have focused on growth, innovation, and expansion, whilst keeping customer experiences at the core of what we do. This is the secret to our success and has allowed us to develop a fantastic team of talented travel experts and enthusiasts, and a growing community of active and engaged customers. 

At the heart of our offering, the classic inn-to-inn, iconic walking routes such as The West Highland Way, the Tour de Mont Blanc and Camino de Santiago are once-in-a-lifetime trips for a reason. But as the market becomes more diverse, our product needs to keep pace, and we are continually reviewing, tweaking, and adding new trips. For 2023, we are creating new categories to reflect these trends – including an expanded selection of In Style holidays and a range of Slower Adventures.”

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