Kent Milne and Filip Boyen honoured with Outstanding Contribution to Luxury awards
Select World Travel’s founding chairman Kent Milne and luxury hospitality consultant Filip Boyen have spoken of their honour after winning Outstanding Contribution to Luxury accolades at this year’s Aspire Awards.
Milne (pictured) was awarded the gong following more than 50 years in travel, having fallen into the industry after a stint in accountancy. He first relocated from Scotland to London, and then down to Dorset when a manager’s position became available at a travel agency, which later became the first to put together Concord and Orient Express packages.
Ten years on, in 1987, he bought Select World Travel in Canford Cliffs for £10,000 and in its first year the independent agency turned over £900,000, selling huge amounts of Cunard cruises. The business also became known for organising corporate travel, working with brands like Toshiba.
In 2020, 72-year-old Milne completed a management buyout with Hannah Vincent, who is now managing director of the agency, while Milne continues to service clients.
“I am very honoured to be the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Luxury award,” Milne said.
“It’s very unexpected and was a wonderful surprise on the night. I have been in the travel industry for over 50 years and have seen many changes to the market, but the one constant has always been the appreciation that clients have for expertise in finding true luxury experiences. I am very grateful to Aspire and the travel community for this outstanding award.”
The second recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Luxury award was Filip Boyen, who was described on the night as “a true stalwart in the luxury sector” and “an expert in delivering exceptional customer service, helping to guide the world’s finest hotels on outstanding hospitality”.
Boyen began his hospitality career as a commis chef and later progressed to hotel general manager posts in Moscow, Bora Bora and Peru. He worked his way up at Belmond and then at Orient Express, starting as a general manager, and then taking on the role of managing director of Belmond’s hotel and train operations in Peru in 2001, before becoming regional vice president of Africa, Australia and Latin America. After further promotions he took up the role of Belmond’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Between 2015 and 2018, Boyen served as chief executive of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. He then joined Forbes Travel Guide where he was chief executive for three and a half years, before taking on his current role at the brand of global ambassador.
He’s also a luxury hospitality consultant and senior advisor for Corinthia Hotels and Orient Express la Dolce Vita Trains.
“First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude for this incredible honour of receiving this award for Outstanding Contribution to Luxury,” Boyen said.
“This recognition is not only a testament to my passion for the industry but a reflection of the remarkable people that have been instrumental in my journey.
“I am humbled to have been able to contribute to this amazing industry in my own small way. I firmly believe that it is not just individual efforts but the collective brilliance of our teams that can propel us to excellence.”
He added: “Let us continue to work together with humility, understanding, collaboration and unwavering enthusiasm for our craft and vocation to our industry.”