World Travel Awards celebrates sustainable tourism in style

Greece, Spain and Italy shared a fistful of honours at the World Travel Awards European Ceremony.

Lufthansa took the title of Europe’s Leading Airline, NCL Leading Cruise Line and The Westin Dragonara, perched on a private peninsula in Malta, received the Leading Family Resort award.Europe did not fare so well in the Green Awards, however, where the recognition and praise spotlighted the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia.

The exception was AquaCity, the Slovakian resort in Poprad, where the presentation took place, which walked off with Europe’s Leading Green Hotel and the World’s Leading Green Resort.

(Above: David Falcon, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards; Manon Han, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards; Jan Telensky, CEO AquaCity)


“This was our first Green Awards and clearly demonstrated that Europe’s mature destinations such as Spain, France and the UK are dragging their feet over the growing consumer demand for sustainable and more socially aware travel products,” said Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President of World Travel Awards.

“They have much to learn from the passion and enthusiasm of emerging destinations such as Sri Lanka, for example, which is embracing an ambitious green initiative to become the world’s first carbon neutral destination in the world, with public and private sector working together.”

Cooke said that he hoped the launch of the first international Green Awards would help to change perceptions and shift a greater emphasis on to the environment.

“As climate change begins to impact, there is likely to be a change in travel flows, perhaps with more short haul, with consumers less inclined to travel long distances,” he said. “This could have a negative affect on the poorest countries where tourism is a life blood. That’s why responsible tourism is one of the greatest challenging facing the international travel and tourism industry right now.”

The island of Crete gained two awards. The five-star Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort & Spa was presented with Europe’s Leading Beach Resort and Lato Boutique Hotel, combining cutting edge architecture, décor and technology, took Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel award. The Aldemar Olympian Village, overlooking the Ionian coast, was Europe’s Leading Spa Resort and the Grand Resort Lagonissi carried away the coveted title of Leading Conference Resort.

The famous pink and white beaches of the Costa Smeralda on Sardinia’s northern coast in Italy was awarded Europe’s Leading Beach, while the Hilton Villa Igiea Palermo Hotel in Sicily was Europe’s Leading Island Resort and the Forte Village Resort, just outside Cagliari in Sardinia, got Europe’s Leading Resort. 

Europe’s Leading Casino Hotel went to Hotel Torrequebrada, Spain. Fairplay Golf Hotel & Spa, near the Costa del Sol landed Europe’s Leading Golf Resort.

Zurich got the Leading Airport title, Concorde De Luxe Resort in Turkey, the Leading All-Inclusive Resort and London the Leading Destination.

Green Awards

Sea Cloud Cruises, operating luxurious cruises on traditionally rigged sailing ships and European riverboats was awarded the World’s Leading Green Cruise Line while Europcar took the Leading Green Transport Solution Company.

Costa Rica was the Leading Green Destination while the ‘big-five’ private game reserve of Shamwari in South Africa took Leading Conservation Company. The Leading Eco-Lodge was awarded to Kumbuk River, Sri Lanka.

The totally reconstructed 17th century Chateau Mcely, located in the heart of the Czech Republic’s Saint George forest was the World’s Leading Green Hotel.

UK’s Tribes Travel, operating fair trade and responsible holidays and safaris, landed the Leading Green Tour Operator.

The event forms part of a World Travel Awards Grand Tour with regional and sector awards staged throughout the world, ending with a Grand Final at Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean on 12 December 2008.

For a full list of winners visit