Let’s have a look at what has been voted as some of the world’s best destinations, hotels, resorts and other travel and hospitality-linked products.
THERE are a lot of prestigious awards out there, and any award in which the public votes would normally be seen as a very important one.
Certainly, when it comes to the world of travel and hospitality, accolades from travellers and tourists are very much welcomed. But what about when it’s from someone who knows the “product” inside and out?
As in travel agents!
Winners for the World Travel Awards (WTA) are chosen by travel agents worldwide, with the awards having been hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal.
For the 19th edition of the awards in 2012, held late last year in New Delhi, India, a number of “World’s Leading” “stars” emerged. A total of 791,358 individual votes were cast by travel professionals and consumers in 171 countries.
Peru emerged amidst stiff competition as the World’s Leading Culinary Destination. It fought off competition from notable foodie destinations like France, China, Italy, Japan, Spain, Malaysia (yes, a nominee) and Thailand to claim the culinary crown.
Take the best selection of seafood from the Pacific Ocean, mix it with some corn, potatoes and the spicy sauce aji, add a pinch of Spanish influence, plus some Chinese and West African elements, and you get Peruvian food.
And the joy for Peru continued with Machu Picchu receiving the award for Leading Green Destination. This cultural wonder of the world stands in a league of its own (see our Machu Picchu story).
It was also an evening of celebration in India, with the host nation seeing off the likes of Dubai, London, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro to win the blue riband “World’s Leading Destination” award.
“Incredible India” was voted “Tourist Board” in recognition of its part in raising international tourist arrivals.
The pivotal role of the luxury hospitality sector in spearheading India’s tourism revolution was acknowledged with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts voted “Luxury Hotel Brand”. Meanwhile, The Oberoi, Gurgaon consolidated its status by being voted “Luxury Hotel” for the second consecutive year.
Other destination winners included the Maldives (“Island Destination”), Mauritius (“Honeymoon Destination”) and Jamaica (“Cruise Destination”).
Hospitality categories included Dubai’s Burj al Arab (“Hotel”), Italy’s Forte Village Resort (“Resort”), InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (“Hotel Brand”), St. Regis Doha (“New Hotel”) and Atlantis The Palm, Dubai (“Landmark Resort”).
Etihad Airways continued its meteoric rise by being voted “Airline” and “Airline First Class”, following a milestone year that saw the UAE flag-carrier continue its trajectory as the fastest-growing airline in history. Singapore Airlines won “Airline Business Class” and Lufthansa was named “Airline Economy Class”.
Other top awards included Europcar (“Car Hire”) Grosvenor House Dubai (“Business Hotel & Apartments”), and Dnata (Air Travel Service Provider”).
The WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognised globally as one of the benchmarks of quality, with winners setting the standards to which all others aspire.
“The past year has continued to challenge every area of travel, tourism and hospitality. However our Grand Final winners have all demonstrated their world-class pedigree over this period, and are currently spearheading the global recovery of travel and tourism. In doing so, they are also reinforcing our industry’s role as one of the mainstays of the global economy,” said WTA president and founder Graham Cooke.
If you wondered how they arrive at the winners, this is the process they used: A group of professionals from the industry nominate participants for each category. These industry professionals and consumers are then asked to vote online to select the regional winners.
Votes cast by travel professionals count as two votes while the votes cast by non-industry voters count as one vote.
Regional winners then compete head to head in a final round of voting at the world finals. All results are internally audited.
Go to www.worldtravelawards.com/winners2012-1 for a full list of winners.