Dubai’s pioneering spirit was underlined and celebrated at the World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony last night.
The booming emirate was in winning form on an unforgettable night for the travel and tourism industry.
(Left: Winner of The Special Achievement Award, HE Sheikh Faisal K.S. Al Qassemi, with Graham Cooke, President, World Travel Awards)
It was against the backdrop of the newly-opened US$1.5 billion Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai that the emirate emerged with a host of honours.
(Above: Manon Han, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards)
The awards are coveted worldwide and described by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry.
His Excellency Sheikh Faisal Al Qassemi, chairman of the Al Qasimi Group, received the Special Achievement Award for his role in developing tourism in the Middle East.
Making some of the key presentations were Miss World, Zi Lin Zhang of China; triple Emmy Award winning actress, Jennifer Finnigan; and movie and television star, Maeve Quinlan.
(Above: Miss World, Zi Lin Zhang of China with Pam Wilby, Grovesnor House Hotel, winner of UAE’s Leading Hotel)
Graham E. Cooke, founder and president of World Travel Awards, said: “Not only Dubai but the whole of the Middle East region is a constant signal to everyone in the industry of how bold vision and innovation, investment and positive responses can make a difference - despite global economic fears.
“The region is a supreme example of how to hold your nerve and act short term, when necessary, but always with longer-term benefits and a sound business strategy uppermost.”
Etihad Airways walked off with the prized Middle East’s Leading Airline. It also scooped Middle East’s Leading First Class and also Middle East’s Leading Airline Website.
Dubai may have had a lion’s share of the awards but Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia also took awards covering the whole of the Middle East.
Rotana Hotels, with 24 luxury properties across the region, was presented with the title of the Middle East’s Leading Hotel Brand.
Emirates took the Middle East’s Leading Economy Airline and In-flight Entertainment awards.
There were separate categories too for Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah.
“These are the only independent travel and tourism awards for the Middle East and it was wonderful to reward the best from exceptionally high-quality nominations,” added Cooke.
Winners of all categories for the Middle East are listed on the World Travel Awards website www.worldtravelawards.com