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WTA 2011 Africa & Indian Ocean Ceremony

Egypt’s finest travel brands come good

The resilience of Egypt’s travel and tourism industry has been acknowledged at a VIP gala ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards at the SOHO Square, Sharm el Sheikh, the Red Sea’s premier dining, shopping and entertainment complex.

A number of Egyptian tourist attractions, hotels and organisations emerged victorious at the WTA 2011 Africa & Indian Ocean Ceremony on 16 September 2011.

Winners included the Pyramids of Giza, which beat off stiff competition from Victoria Falls, Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro to win “Africa’s Leading Attraction”. Meanwhile Egypt Air saw off the likes of South African Airways, Air Namibia, Kenya Airways and Royal Air Maroc to collect “Africa’s Leading Business Class Airline”.

Sierra Resort Sharm el Sheikh was voted “Egypt’s Leading All-inclusive Resort”.

Other blue ribbon winners included Cape Town voted “Africa’s Leading Destination”; Abercrombie & Kent winning “Africa’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator” and Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, South Africa named “Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel”. Meanwhile Sonava Gili won “Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Resort” and the Maldives picked up “Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”.

The industry’s elite – including government ministers, tourist board chiefs and CEOs of blue-chip travel companies – travelled from across Africa and the Indian Ocean to attend the glittering gala ceremony, which was headlined by Lebanese music sensation Carole Samaha.

The raft of media in attendance included National Geographic Traveller, Discovery Channel, Newsweek, Weltexpress and Times of India.

Graham E. Cooke, President & Founder, World Travel Awards, highlighted travel and tourism’s crucial role in Egypt’s new era of democracy and opportunity.

He said: “Egypt is proving a textbook example of world-class destinations demonstrating an incredible ability to bounce back. Its phenomenal array of attractions – from the Pyramids of Giza and the temples of Luxor to the diving and beaches of Sharm El Sheikh – will ensure that tourism remains integral to the evolution of the new Egypt.

“Hosting our Africa & Indian Ocean Ceremony in Sharm el Sheikh is a celebration of how travel and tourism is serving as a force for good and a catalyst for change,” he added.

SOHO Square’s pedestrianised square mile comprises restaurants, shops and entertainment facilities. The complex forms part of the Savoy Group, which also comprises three luxury properties: the Royal Savoy and Villas, the Savoy Hotel and the Sierra Hotel. The hotels enjoy access to some of the most sought after diving and snorkelling in Sharm el Sheikh.

Emad Aziz, Chairman Savoy Sharm el Sheikh said: “From the Mountains of Sinai to the shores of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of thousands of people in the hospitality and travel industry demonstrate day in and day out the unfailing welcome they offer. This region is becoming the most sought after destination for discerning travellers. We are proud of the achievements of all and celebrate the extraordinary examples of the winners of these, the most prestigious awards a hotel could receive.”

The WTA ceremony comes ahead of Egypt hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s World Tourism Day, which will be celebrated in the city of Aswan on 27 September.

The Africa & Indian Ocean Ceremony marks the third heat of the WTA 2011 Grand Tour. Regional legs will follow in Bangkok, Thailand (28 September) and Montego Bay, Jamaica (19 October).

The event partners were SOHO Square, Savoy Hotels & Resorts International, BBC World News and WeClickMedia, and the media partners included Magic 105.4, ABTA Magazine, eTurboNews, Breaking Travel News, Passport Magazine, National Geographic Traveller and Vox Africa.