South Africa swept the board at the World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony in Johannesburg on Wednesday 7 July, attended by over 1,000 senior industry leaders.
It was a night of elation as the travel and tourism industry’s ‘great and good’ watched South Africa take the spotlight, winning many of the region’s overall categories.
Meanwhile Mauritius, Seychelles and the Maldives scooped a number of key awards for the Indian Ocean.
There were awards too for travel companies, organisations and destinations in Botswana, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
(Lindiwe Kwele, CEO, Johannesburg Tourism Company, and Jason Ngobeni and David Falcon, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards)
The biggest applause of the night though was saved for the Managing Director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts, Dr. Aupindi Tobie Aupindi, who named Africa’s prestigious Tourism Personality of the Year.
Dr Aupindi, currently gearing up to celebrate the Etosha National Park Centenary, a significant milestone in conservation, has been described as “inspiring the next generation of Namibian Leaders” for his role in transforming the fortunes of Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
CEOs, directors of leading travel companies, Government Ministers, heads of tourism departments, and industry association leaders gathered for Africa’s most important industry evening.
(Hosts Gerry Rantseli and Michael de Pinna)
VIPs included: Hon. Tokozile Xasa, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism; Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, the Hon. Commissioner, Lagos State Delegation; Mr. Kenneth Racombo, First Secretary at the Seychelles High Commission; and Mr. Mansoor Mohamed, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town.
South African Airways was voted “Africa’s Leading Airline” and “1Time Airline”, the budget carrier took the titles of “Africa’s Leading Low-Cost Airline” and “Africa’s Leading Online Tour Operator”.
The Hilton Durban took “Africa’s Leading Business Hotel”; the elegant five-star decadence of The Palazzo Montecasino in Johannesburg won the title “Africa’s Leading Casino Resort”; and Cape Town walked off with “Africa’s Leading Destination”.
The internationally-renowned Sun City Resort, South Africa won “Africa’s Leading Family Resort” while Starwood Hotels & Resorts took the title of “Africa’s Leading Hotel Group”. Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa at Hermanus, South Africa, took “Africa’s Leading Luxury Hotel” and The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays, South Africa, triumphed as “Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Hotel”.
Air Mauritius took “Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline” and Mauritius’s Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport won “Indian Ocean’s Leading Airport”.
Mauritius scooped the coveted “Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination” while the legendary Hotel Trou Aux Biches was voted winner of the new category of “Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination” and Port Victoria picked up “Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Port”.
The winners were selected with the help of thousands of industry professionals worldwide who have been voting online.
Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President of World Travel Awards said that in addition to the prestige for their respective companies and destinations, the winners gain considerable commercial benefit from their deserved success.
“Because of their global reach and reputation, World Travel Awards is unique and regularly referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of travel and tourism,” he said.
“This means that consumers are increasingly using our portfolio of winners as a reliable and independent guide when booking their vacation.”
The awards, established 17 years ago, are committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international industry.
(Comedian Trevor Noah)
“Customer care and professionalism of African tourism has come a long way in the years since the World Travel Awards was first started,” added Cooke.
“What is so encouraging for Africa is that unlike much of the world, the region has determinedly bucked the trend, notably with the sub-Saharan destinations which are doing particularly well.”
Winners of the regional ceremony will now go on to compete in World Travel Awards 2010 final in London, immediately before World Travel Market on Sunday 7 November.
The world acclaimed theatre production UMOJA and African Footprint provided spectacular entertainment, with comedian Trevor Noah providing the laughs.
Log on to World Travel Awards for a complete list of winners for the Indian Ocean region.