The travel, tourism, and hospitality industry’s most coveted international recognition, the World Travel Awards, held its Middle East gala ceremony in Dubai tonight. The event was graced by a number of senior professionals from the travel, tourism, and hospitality trade at a ceremony that was packed with award winners, nominees, and press.
Abu Dhabi made a strong show of force by winning 10 awards, the highest number of awards ever won by a new travel and tourism destination. The capital of the UAE, which has embarked on an ambitious long-term tourism development plan, also saw a record number of nominations this year. Some of the key awards that went to Abu Dhabi companies were:
– Middle East’s Leading Airline – Etihad
– Middle East’s Leading International Marketing Campaign – Etihad
– Middle East’s Leading Destination Marketing Campaign – ADTA
– Middle East’s Leading Exhibition Center – ADNEC
– Middle East’s Leading Tourism Development Project – TDIC’s Saadiyat Island
– Middle East’s Leading Private Jet Charter – Royal Jet
However, Dubai remained the Middle East’s favorite destination by winning the highly-contested Middle East’s Leading Destination and Middle East’s Leading MICE destination award. Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) was voted for Middle East’s Leading Tourism Board, while Jumeirah, Emirates Airlines, and Al Futtaim Group Real Estate won awards for Middle East’s Leading Hotel, Middle East’s Leading Economy Airline, and the Middle East’s Leading Tourism Development Company (for Dubai Festival City), respectively. Emaar’s The Address hotel was voted unanimously as Middle East’s Leading New Hotel. Another unanimous vote was for Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction, which is Petra in Jordan.
Commenting on the award winners, Graham Cooke, founder of the World Travel Awards said: “I am excited to see that the Middle East’s tourism offering is quickly diversifying, and new players are taking great interest in being destinations, airlines, or hotels of choice. It is particularly impressive to note that some of the major award winners tonight are very new companies that have quickly set themselves to be leading players in the travel, tourism, and hospitality business – not only in the Middle East but world wide.”
The awards are determined by a polling process that invites votes from over 170,000 travel, tourism, and hospitality professionals around the world. This year, around 42,000 voters participated in selecting winners for the Middle East’s best airlines, hotels, tourist attractions, destinations, and tourist board amongst many others. Voters are also asked to vote on micro-favorites such as Middle East’s Leading Suite, Middle East’s Leading Travel Website, and Middle East’s Leading Water Park – which was awarded to Aquaventure on Atlantis’s Palm Jumeirah.
The World Travel Awards also launched a new award called the Prix D’ Or, which was voted on live at the ceremony. Guests at the World Travel Awards Middle East ceremony were asked to vote for the brand that has contributed most to Middle East’s travel industry in the last 12 months.