Leading travel brands from across the Caribbean and Americas have shared top honours at a World Travel Awards ceremony hosted at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa on 14 September 2012.
A packed delegation of VIPs, senior tourism figures and international media travelled from more than 30 nations to attend WTA’s Caribbean & The Americas Ceremony 2012, which was supported by Turks & Caicos Tourist Board and Scotiabank.
It was an evening of travel triumph for nations across the Caribbean. St Lucia won the coveted title of “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”, Coco Reef Resort (Tobago) picked up “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel”, whilst Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island (British Virgin Islands) was voted “Caribbean Leading Private Island”.
Buccament Bay Spa & Resort (St Vincent) nudged ahead of The Hotel Chocolat (St Lucia), Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro (Dominican Republic), The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort (Tobago) and Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort (Dominican Republic) to win “Caribbean’s Leading New Hotel”.
Jamaica’s continuing rise up the global tourism order was acknowledged after it was named “Caribbean’s Leading Destination”.
In North America, Las Vegas saw off competition from New York, Miami, San Francisco, Montreal and Vancouver to win the coveted title of “North America’s Leading Destination”. New York won the “North America’s Leading City Break Destination” title, while American Airlines was voted “North America’s Leading Airline”.
Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) was voted “South America’s Leading Destination”, ahead of the likes of Easter Island (Chile), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) and Machu Picchu (Peru).
Cancun (Mexico) came in ahead of Bay Islands (Honduras), San Jose (Costa Rica), Los Cabos (Mexico) and Granada (Nicaragua) to win the coveted title of “Mexico & Central America’s Leading Destination”. Copa Airlines was named “Mexico & Central America’s Leading Airline”.
The WTA awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ by the global media, highlights and rewards those travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry over the past year.
Graham E. Cooke, President & Founder, WTA, underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across the Caribbean and the Americas.
He says: “Our winners are also drawn from the breadth of the Caribbean and the Americas, reflecting the strength and depth of the travel and tourism sector in the regions. I am sure these organisations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on 12 December 2012.”
“The ceremony has also served as a glittering spotlight for Turks & Caicos – a paradise nation that has welcomed a record number of tourist visitors over the past year. This is testament to its overwhelming natural attractions, its luxury hospitality facilities and its rich local heritage.”
Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, says: “We are honoured to receive the highest number of awards in Sandals Resorts’ history. We always strive for excellence, and continue to invest in our product so that each year we can be proud to say we are the Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand.”
Ralph Higgs, Director of Tourism, Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, says: “The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board congratulates the winners and the nominees for this year’s World Travel Awards. With another 30 nations represented at these awards, we hope that each of you will take a piece of our islands home with you, etched in your memory forever. Congratulations again and we do hope to see you here in the future as we celebrate and acknowledge the brightest and best in the global hospitality industry.”
Rising Caribbean star and the reigning Miss Bahamas, Anastagia Pierre hosted the show with American actor and comedian Walt Willey. Some of the Caribbean’s finest vocalists, including Shawn Campbell and Elroy Simmons, performed to the packed audience.
Other WTA Grand Tour 2012 regional heats include Dubai (UAE), Algarve (Portugal), and Singapore. The winners of these legs will go head-to-head in WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon on 12th December 2012.
Jamaica and its travel partners brought homes a number of accolades including Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port (Ocho Rios), Caribbean’s Leading Airport (Sangster International Airport), Caribbean Leading Activity Operator (Chukka Caribbean Adventures), Caribbean Leading Attraction Company (Island Routes), Caribbean Leading Adventure Excursion Operator (Dolphin Cove), Caribbean Leading All-Suite Hotel (Sandals Royal Plantation), Caribbean’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre (Montego Bay Convention Centre), Caribbean’s Leading Meetings & Conference Hotel (Half Moon) Caribbean’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Tourism Development Project (Port of Falmouth), Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand (Sandals Resorts International), Caribbean Leading Boutique Resort (Goldeneye), Caribbean’s Leading Car Hire (Avis), Caribbean Leading Travel Agency (Trafalgar Travel), Caribbean’s Leading Villa Residences; Caribbean Leading Villa Resort and Jamaica’s Leading Spa Resort (Round Hill), Jamaica’s Leading Golf Resort (Half Moon), Jamaica’s Leading Hotel (Jamaica Inn), Jamaica’s Leading Resort (Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa), Jamaica’s Leading Boutique Hotel (Rockhouse), Jamaica’s Leading Business Hotel (Spanish Court) and Jamaica’s Leading Car Hire (Island Car Rentals).