South America revelled in travel triumph last night at the first ever World Travel Awards South America Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Honours were handed out across the region - but Brazil was the big winner of the night. Victories included Ipanema Beach winning “South America’s Leading Beach”; Rio’s Hotel Fasano voted “South America’s Leading Boutique Hotel”; and the InterContinental Hotel in Rio scooping “South America’s Leading Business Hotel”.World Travel Awards, described by the Wall Street Journal as the “Oscars” of the international travel industry, was held at Rio’s InterContinental Hotel.
Attended by senior South American senior travel professionals, the glittering evening was sponsored by Rio’s Convention and Visitor Bureau.
“South America can be justly proud of the growth and development of its travel industry,” said World Travel Awards founder and president, Graham E. Cooke.
“Over the past five years, there has been a huge improvement in the quality and choice of travel products. The region is becoming recognised as world class, offering visitors the very best customer experience.
“World Travel Awards was established 15 years ago and are designed to encourage excellence in all aspects of the travel industry. It is clear from the standard we have seen here tonight that large and small South American companies are continuously assessing performance and identifying areas for improvement.
“Their thirst to underpin the concept of brilliant customer service in South America is evident and the industry, all those who were nominated and, above all, the winners should be congratulated.”
Other awards included Kiaroa Eco-Luxury Resort, Leading Green Hotel; Casa Grande Hotel Resort & Spa on Ensenada Beach, Leading Spa Resort; Copacabana Palace, Leading Hotel and Rio Convention & Visitor Bureau, Leading Tourist Board. Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Chile also figured in the overall coveted South American awards.
The event took place in partnership with The Fair of the Americas, ABAV 2008 Exhibition, the largest trade event of its kind, coinciding with The Brazilian Travel Agencies Congress.
Winners are decided by votes received from agents and travel professionals in South America and throughout the world.
In the overall South American titles, TAM Airlines were named Leading Airline; Argentina’s Buenos Aires International Airport, Leading Airport.
Journalist and presenter Renata Boldrini hosted the evening, part of World Travel Awards Grand Tour, culminating with the final in December, which this year is being held in Turks & Caicos.
A complete list of winners of the World Travel Awards North American and Central American Ceremony 2008 can be found by logging on to www.worldtravelawards.com.