The World Travel Awards celebrated the excellence of the European tourism industry, when they announced the winners of the Europe & Green Awards at a prestigious ceremony at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park. More than 50 trophies were given out and as many as 300 guests from 19 countries from across Europe attended the glamorous event on Tuesday night, which was hosted by impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw, famous for his work on BBC’s top-rated series “Dead Ringers”.
During the evening, awards were received by companies such as Europcar, which was voted “Europe’s Leading Car Hire”; Lufthansa landed the award for “Europe’s Leading Business Class Airline”; Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites picked up “Europe’s Leading Hotel Brand” while Hotel Le Bristol Paris won the title of “Europe’s Leading Hotel”. A top award also went out to Swiss International Air Lines, voted “Europe’s Leading Airline”.
“North East England and especially Newcastle is an up and coming destination thanks to the region’s regeneration in the last few years. Newcastle is surrounded by unspoilt countryside and coastal stretches in the UK, which is one of the reasons why so many people make the city a destination for their holiday,” said Graham Cooke, President and Founder of the World Travel Awards. “Newcastle played an ideal host for our regional event, and we are now building to the crescendo of our annual World Travel Awards Ceremony in Turks & Caicos at the end of the year.”
Top industry turned up in force: Attending travel agents were Per Arne Villadsen, CEO of Berg Hansen, Lex Beins, CEO of CheapTickets.nl, Wesley Peterson, European Director of Air of Expedia.co.uk and Luca Patane, President of Uvet American Express. Hotel representatives included Pierre Ferchaud, President and General Manager of Hotel Le Bristol Paris, Mark Allvey, Global Sales Director of The Rocco Forte Collection. Attending airline representatives were Gudrun Gorner, Corporate Communications Executive of Lufthansa, Gregor Koncilja, UK Country Manager of Swiss International Air Lines as well as Titus Johnson, Country Manager UK of Air Berlin, to name but a few.
The star-studded event saw eight new awards in the newly-introduced “green” awards. AquaCity Poprad received one of them for “World’s Leading Green Resort”; East Midland’s Airport scooped “World’s Leading Eco-friendly Airport”.
World Travel Awards (WTA) introduced the “green” categories earlier this year to reward those companies who excel in ecologically-friendly practices. “As a responsible authority for the travel industry, the World Travel Awards are keen to encourage creativity and leadership that will lead to a sustainable future.” said Manon Han, Vice President of the World Travel Awards. “The introduction of the “green” awards has brought the awards to a different level and ultimately we want to help green-conscious travellers make a more informed decision on eco-friendly products and services.”
The guests enjoyed an eclectic mix of entertainment and music throughout the evening. Disco group Boney M., famous for songs such as “Daddy Cool” and “Rivers of Babylon” had the audience dancing and singing with their brilliant and highly-entertaining performance. Media attendance of the regional ceremony was considerable with representatives of 15 institutions attending, including 7 Plus, NCJ Media, Exclusive Magazine, Sunderland Echo, Northern Echo, Living North Magazine, Evening Chronicle, Northumberland Gazette, ABTA Magazine, Sunday Sun and Northeast Press. As WTA’s official media partner, BBC World will broadcast the event to over 280 million homes in over 200 countries and territories on FastTrack, one of the station’s best known travel programs.
Voting for the Europe and “green” categories started in March of this year and ended in August. During this period ballots were completed, returned and processed using the online voting form. The winners of the Europe Awards will automatically be put forward as nominees in their respective global categories. The world winners will be announced at the grand final, the Annual World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony in the Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean on 12th December this year.
For the first time in 14 years, the World Travel Awards cover the various country and regional level awards by recognising award winners in their own territory. Chosen locations for this year’s grand tour included Abu Dhabi for the Middle East & Africa Awards and New York for The Americas Awards. The next upcoming WTA awards ceremony will be held in Bangalore in India for the Asia, Australasia & Indian Ocean Awards.