In its 50th anniversary since first welcoming visitors to its shores, Maldives claimed the ultimate honour of ‘World’s Leading Destination’.
The finest travel brands in the world have been unveiled at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2022 in Muscat, Oman. The stars of the travel and hospitality industries aligned for a night to celebrate the welcome return of global tourism and to find out who amongst them had been voted the best in the world.
The evening marked a year like no other for Maldives tourism. In its 50th anniversary since first welcoming visitors to its shores, Maldives claimed the ultimate honour of ‘World’s Leading Destination’ with Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) taking the title of ‘World’s Leading Tourist Board’. Vietnam also claimed the headlines winning five major honours. ‘World’s Leading City Break Destination’ went to Hanoi, ‘World's Leading Nature Island Destination’ was presented to Phu Quoc, ‘World's Leading Town Destination’ was won by Tam Đảo, ‘World's Leading Regional Nature Destination’ was awarded to Moc Chau, with Vietnam winning ‘World’s Leading Heritage Destination’.
Other big destination category winners included Jamaica which took a hat-trick of honours, winning ‘World’s Leading Cruise Destination’, World’s Leading Family Destination’ and ‘World’s Leading Wedding Destination’. The hotly-contested award for ‘World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’ went to Saint Lucia, Dubai took the title of ‘World’s Leading Business Travel Destination’, Abu Dhabi won ‘World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination’ and Oman claimed top honours for ‘World’s Leading Nature Destination’. ‘World’s Leading City Destination’ went to Porto with the exciting title of ‘World’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination’ being awarded to Batumi.
The evening marked the climax of the WTA 29th anniversary Grand Tour – an annual search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world, with the winners of WTA’s regional ceremonies going head-to-head for the coveted World titles.
Graham Cooke, Founder, WTA, said: “It has been an honour to stage our comeback Grand Final here in the magnificent Sultanate of Oman. I would like to personally thank all of the winners tonight. You have been recognised by our global voting audience as the leaders of tourism excellence. I know that your commitment to becoming the very best will in turn serve to drive up standards across the industry and will raise the collective benchmark.”
In the aviation sector, Qatar Airways capped a memorable year by winning ‘World’s Leading Airline’. Emirates took the title of ‘World’s Leading Airline Brand’ along with ‘World’s Leading Airline to the Middle East’, ‘World’s Leading Inflight Entertainment’ and ‘World’s Leading Airlines Rewards Programme. Oman Air claimed the awards for ‘World’s Leading Airline – Business Class’, ‘World’s Leading Airline Lounge – Business Class’, and ‘World’s Leading Airline – Customer Experience’. ‘World’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ was presented to Etihad Airways which also won the prize for ‘World’s Leading Airline Lounge – First Class.’ Oman Airports claimed a double honour by taking the awards for ‘World's Leading Regional Airport 2022 (Salalah Airport), and World's Leading Airport – Customer Experience (Muscat International Airport).
Hospitality winners included Atlantis, The Palm (‘World’s Leading Landmark Resort’, World’s Leading Hotel Suite, ‘World’s Leading Executive Club Lounge’, ‘World’s Leading Water Park); Burj Al Arab (‘World’s Leading Luxury All Suite Hotel’); Emirates Palace (‘World’s Leading Luxury Beach Resort’); Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach (‘World's Leading Luxury Resort’); Sani Resort, Greece (‘World’s Leading Family & Beach Resort’, ‘World’s Leading Cultural Destination Resort’); The Ritz- Carlton Aman (‘World’s Leading Luxury Hotel & Spa'); The Chedi Muscat (‘World's Leading Luxury Beach Resort & Spa’); Aman (‘World's Leading Dive Resort’: Amanpulo, Philippines); and One & Only (‘World's Leading Hotel Beach Villas’: Beachfront Villas @ One&Only The Palm, Dubai).
Sandals Resorts International were once again crowned ‘World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company’ with Beaches Resorts awarded ‘World's Leading All-Inclusive Family Resort Brand’. The title of ‘World Leading All-Inclusive Resort’ went to Sandals, Grenada.
The highly-prized honour of ‘World’s Best New Resort’ was claimed by Jumeirah Muscat Bay, Oman and title of ‘World’s Best new Hotel’ was won by Shangri-La Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Palm Jumeirah took top honours for ‘World's Leading Tourism Development Project 2022’.
The occasion also recognised the achievements of three very individuals who were honoured with special discretionary World Travel Awards. ‘World’s Leading Travel Personality’ was bestowed upon Hassan Ahdab, President of Hotels Operations, Dur Hospitality Company, ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry’ was presented to Nana Gecaga, Chief Executive Officer, KICC, and Deepak Ohri, CEO, lebua Hotels & Resorts was granted the special honour of ‘World’s Leading Happiness Ambassador’.
Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Airports, said, “Having hosted the 26th edition of this prestigious global event with great success, we were pleased to once again invite major players in the tourism industry to visit the Sultanate of Oman and attend the WTA Grand Final Gala Ceremony.”
He added, “Hosting this global event falls within the framework of our role in supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism in placing Oman on the map of major global events. We are confident that the presence of the best travel and tourism companies from around the world, and the accompanying media coverage, will reflect positively on these efforts.”
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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.