Staged annually in London under one roof, at the Excel exhibition centre in Docklands, the World Travel Market (WTM) is a must attend, business to business exhibition that provides a unique opportunity for the whole global trade industry to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business. By attending World Travel Market, participants efficiently, effectively and productively gain immediate competitive advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.
Alongside many celebrities like Dannii Minogiue, Jimmy Choo (the coutoure shoemaker from Malaysia) and the entire bevvy of Miss World beauties, this year saw the 30th WTM take place to great success. People from the world over flocked to find out about the wonderful world we live in and the best ways of getting there. The Incredible India stand garnered a lot of success and many a Minister came down for this momentous event.
Also tied to the WTM were the travel awards. Virgin Atlantic Airways, Visa, India Tourism, TUI Travel and Silversea Cruises were amongst companies who triumphed during the World Travel Awards Grand Final that was staged at the five-star Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London’s Mayfair on November 8th.
The awards, described by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the global travel and tourism industry, revealed who are the ‘best of the best’ in the world. The Grand Final ceremony concludes the 2009 regional tour which has taken the World Travel Awards to Dubai, South Africa, Mexico and Portugal, celebrating the achievements of the leading lights of the travel and tourism industry.
World winners included: Etihad Airways, World’s Leading Airline; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, World’s Leading Hotel Brand; London, England, World’s Leading Destination; Dnata, World’s Leading Travel Management Company and Regency Travel and Tours, Qatar, World’s Leading Travel Agency.
A number of technology awards were also presented on the night: Expedia.co.uk won World’s Leading Travel Booking Website award and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts scooped World’s Leading Hotel Brand Website award.
The full list of winners for the World Travel Awards can be found by logging on to www.worldtravelawards.com/winners
Increasingly, the awards are known as raising the bar for ultimate customer service and overall business performance. Growing numbers of travel companies, airlines, operators and resorts compete to walk away with one of the coveted titles. According to the organisers, research has shown that winning a World Travel Award increases international brand recognition, building consumer loyalty.
Over 1000 travel companies were nominated in 94 World categories and 14 Travel Technology categories in the Grand Final ceremony.
Nearly 1000 senior management and decision makers from the world’s travel and tourism industry came together to celebrate their achievements at this star-studded event. Some of the thought leaders who were present included: Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President, WTTC; Kumari Selja, Minister of Tourism, India; Steve Ridgway, CEO, Virgin Atlantic Airways; Hon. Ed Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board; His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways.
Also in attendance was Shane O’Hare, President & CEO, Royal Jet Group; Lindiwe Mahlangu, CEO, Johannesburg Tourism Company; Paul White, President & CEO, Orient-Express Hotels; Clive Jacobs, Chairman, TW Group; Fiona Jefferey, Chairman, WTM & Chairman & Founder, Just a Drop; Nigel Turner, CEO, FlyBMI; Antonio Pedro F. de Mello, Secretary of Tourism, State of Rio de Janeiro and Ahmed Abdulla M. Al Muaimi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority.
There were also 120 Miss World 2009 finalists present, supporting their respective destinations.
The World Travel Awards Grand Final, which took place on the eve of the World Travel Market, concludes the World Travel Awards Grand Tour for 2009.