The 13th Annual World Travel Awards voting is officially underway with a record number of travel professionals worldwide submitting votes via the World Travel Awards official voting website. Over 167,000 registered travel agents and travel professionals are scrambling to cast their votes for their preferred nominees online at www.worldtravelawards.com/votenow before final entries are accepted and the voting closes on the 16th June.
“The criteria for evaluating the nominees includes scope of distribution, convenience and overall services,” says WTA vice president, Manon Han. “The travel industry values feedback and endorsement for those at the cutting edge. The overwhelming level of response to this year’s awards is testament to this.”
This year there are 791 industry and destination specific categories. This represents nearly 50 new elements to the World Travel Awards. A total of 24 categories are focused on the U.S. and Canada, bringing the total number of award categories in North America to 100. In this region business and boutique hotels, as well as state specific titles have been expanded.
Han added: “The world will be watching on the 20th September as winners are announced at the World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony in Turks and Caicos”.
The Turks and Caicos Islands won out against fierce competition from other suitable destinations to host the awards.
“The Turks and Caicos won because they are at the forefront of the Caribbean tourism industry promoting their white sandy beaches, 40 islands and corporate hospitality facilities in a truly professional manner,” says Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Awards.
“The World Travel Awards rewards and represents excellence in the travel industry and so does the Turks and Caicos,” says Chief Minister of the islands, Mike Misick.
“Therefore it is about associating these two top brands together. Hosting the gala ceremony will lift the profile of the islands as well, and we are looking forward to that.”
The awards have recently been called the “travel industry’s equivalent to the Oscar’s,” by the Wall Street Journal newspaper. A number of media reports have also described it “as the most comprehensive and the most prestigious awards program in the global travel industry.”
Many of the award winners will be attending two other events that have been arranged to coincide with the main ceremony. This includes the World Travel Internet Conference on the 18th September and the World Travel Golf Tournament on 19th September.
The World Travel Internet Conference, which aims to provide delegates with unique educational and networking opportunities, is already booking some of the top names in the travel-tech industry as speakers.
Confirmed speakers include Glenn Fogel, Managing Director, Corporate Development and International, Priceline.com, John Davis, CEO, Pegasus Solutions, David Soskin, CEO, Cheapflights.co.uk and moderator -Gary C. Sain CTC CHME CTME, Chief Marketing Officer / Partner, YPB&R (Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell).
Major travel industry sponsors are backing the awards and its sister events, including Cable and Wireless and Amadeus, the travel-tech firm and Mandalay Resort & Residences, who are one of the main tourism developers in the Turks and Caicos.
Gala ceremony organisers are now looking into the gala dinner’s entertainment after last year’s event at London’s Royal Opera House hosted the world-renowned acrobat troupe, Cirque du Soleil.
Media partner British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will once again broadcast the event to over 254 million households worldwide. Breaking Travel News and other global media outlets will also be covering the event.
“The glamorous ball gown and tuxedo-clad event is likely to provide an unparalleled networking forum for those who attended. It is also a chance to share the limelight with other award winners, understand why the industry brought these people together and talk about the future of the travel trade,” says Han.