Go Cruise’s James Hill has been given a special recognition award at the River Cruise Excellence Awards in Paris.

The ceremony recognises those that contribute to the river cruise industry.

A record 210,400 British travellers booked a river cruise in 2017 – up 21% from the year before.

The River Cruise Excellence Awards were presented by Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer and Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley.

Before the award was given to Hill, Harmer said: “The winner of this special award has long been an advocate for the sector.

“You could say that they were an early adopter. He recognised that that river cruise holidays were there and were set to show significant growth.

“To achieve that growth, this individual knew that knowledge of products and destinations were central to success and they spent some time advising many bodies, including Clia, about our offering to our agent members.

“They remain a real advocate for river cruising.”

Manchester-based Cruise 1st bagged the best river cruise newcomer at the awards attended by hundreds of agents and industry figures.

Best Overall Performance (North) went to Connoisseur Travel, while the Best Overall Performance (South) went to Fred Olsen Travel.

River Cruise Ambassador of the Year (agency) went to Ponders Travel, and River Cruise Ambassador of the Year (agent) was won by Margaret McCorriston, from Planet Cruise.

Best marketing promotions went to Rivercruising.co.uk for online and Go Cruise for the homeworker category.

Miles Morgan Travel took home the award for the best marketing promotion in the retail category.

Harmer said: “The River Cruise Excellence Awards celebrates the continued success of the river cruise sector and recognises the individuals and businesses that make a huge contribution to helping this industry grow.

“We would like to congratulate this year’s winners, who consistently deliver results, push river cruise opportunities, invest in training and development and engage with Clia and the river cruise sector.

“This fantastic support is crucial for the continued growth of the river cruise industry and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate their hard work and dedication.”