The Asia Luxury Travel Market got off to a glamorous start with reigning Miss World treating attendees to a sneak preview ahead of Thursday evening, when she will be Guest of Honour at the inaugural World Travel Awards Asia and Indian Ocean Ceremony.Miss Zi Lin Zhang, who comes from Shi Jia Zhuang City in Hei Bei Province, will be presenting some of the key awards at the prestigious “Oscars of the travel Industry” event. She is pictured right with Ralph Hicks of Turks & Caicos and Graham Cooke, President of World Travel Awards.
The awards will recognise the ‘best of the best’ travel companies and operators. It is being held in partnership with Asia Luxury Travel Market and the swissộtel GRAND, Shanghai.
ALTM opened at The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai with a conference at which leading figures in the luxury travel sector discussed the factors driving the industry forward in the region. Moderated by Akhtar Khan, a news anchor for BBC News, panellists included Michael Hobson of Mandarin Oriental Group, Sonu Shivdasani the founder of innovative spa and resort operators Six Senses and Serge Zaalof, of Dubai-based Jumeirah.
Pictured left is Miss World with Ali Al Hasani of Abu Dhabi Tourism. In between her hectic modelling career, which includes fashion shoots for the likes of Armani, the 24-year-old beauty excels in triple jump and hurdles and won the “Sports Advance Distinction Award” whilst an undergraduate at the University of Science and Technology Beijing. She also likes children and animals.
As the World Travel Awards event team rolled into town to make final arrangements before the big day, tourism chiefs greeted their arrival with delight.
Mr. Dao Shuming, Chairman, Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative Commission said: “We feel deeply proud that the World Travel Awards has chosen to host its inaugural Asia and Indian Ocean Ceremony in our city of Shanghai. This prestigious event acknowledges the cream of the travel industry - those players who are setting new boundaries in travel excellence - so we are delighted and honoured to be associated.”
The winners can expect massive international profile and acclaim worldwide.
“There are many travel and tourism awards and industry competitions”, said Graham Cooke, President and Founder of the World Travel Awards, “but none are more important - or more influential - than the world travel awards. They offer the winners an opportunity at the very highest level to promote themselves on a global stage.”
“The awards have been described by the respected Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry. But it is perhaps more appropriate here in Shanghai to call it the ‘Olympics’ of the travel industry!”
The WTA Asia & Indian Ocean event is part of the World Travel Awards Grand Tour with regional awards staged throughout the world, culminating in a Grand Final in Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean on 12 December 2008.