Ibrahim Hassan Al-Asmakh, president of Regency Group, has been named Travel Personality of the Year by World Travel Awards.
Al-Asmakh was honoured for his exceptional contribution to the travel and tourism industry, and his role of transforming Qatar into a world-class tourism destination.
Born and raised in Doha, Al-Asmakh was one of the first entrepreneurs to spot his country’s tourism potential long before it won hosting rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In 1987, he set up Regency Travel & Tours, which has played a pivotal role in boosting inbound tourism to Qatar.
Meanwhile the Qatari businessman’s name has been behind many of the ground-breaking development projects in Doha, including the Katara Cultural Village and the Planet Hollywood Hotel. His Regency Group currently employs more than 2,600 people from 34 different nations.
Al-Asmakh also served as the first vice-chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, and his initiatives included relaxing visa regulations and encouraging the world’s leading hotel chains to tap into Doha’s burgeoning popularity.
Graham Cooke, president and founder, World Travel Awards said: “On behalf of World Travel Awards, I am delighted to honour a true industry leader, renowned for his services to travel and tourism and for transforming Doha into the world-class destination for leisure, culture and sport.”
The Travel Personality of the Year is the highest honour an individual can receive in WTA’s awards programme.
Previous winners include HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart of Sandals, and Akbar Al Baker of Qatar Airways.
The announcement was made at WTA’s Grand Final Gala Ceremony, held in Doha, Qatar on January 11th 2012.
The WTA Grand Final 2011 marked the culmination of a year-long search for the very best travel and tourism brands in the world, and featured the winners from WTA’s five 2011 regional heats competing head to head.
Other Qatari winners at the awards included Doha (World’s Leading Business Travel Destination), Qatar Airways (World’s Leading Airline Business Class), Regency Travel & Tours (World’s Leading Travel Agency) and Aspire Zone (World’s Leading Sports Tourism Development Project).
International winners on the night included American Express, Starwood Hotels, Lufthansa, Abercrombie & Kent, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Europcar and Incredible India.