The Middle East’s leading travel brands have shared top honours at a VIP Gala Ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Dubai.
A packed delegation of VIPs, senior tourism figures and international media travelled from more than 30 nations to attend WTA’s Middle East Ceremony 2012.
Dubai’s rapid ascendancy up the global tourism order was further strengthened after it was named “Middle East’s Leading Destination” for the second year running.
The emirate’s insatiable appetite for pushing boundaries also led to a number of its hotels picking up awards, including Atlantis the Palm (“Middle East’s Leading Resort”).
Meanwhile Dubai International Airport was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airport”.
Dubai-based hospitality group Jumeirah enjoyed an evening of rich rewards. Victories included “UAE’s Leading Spa Resort” (Jumeirah Zabeel Saray), “Dubai’s Leading Resort” (Madinat Jumeirah), “UAE’s Leading Hotel” (Jumeirah at Etihad Towers) and “Dubai’s Leading Hotel” (Burj Al Arab)
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi also revelled in travel triumph. Emirates Palace won “Middle East’s Leading Luxury Resort” while Etihad Airways was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airline” after another record-breaking year in which the UAE flag carrier cruised into profit.
Etihad Airways were among the big winners on the night
Saudi Arabia’s emergence as a tourism force was recognised with Makkah Clock Royal Tower – A Fairmont Hotel, winning the blue riband title of “Middle East’s Leading Hotel” for the first time.
Lebanese popstar Carole Samaha headlined the glittering show, with Wonho Chung providing the comedy, and the South African string quartet Sterling EQ also performing.
David Thomson, Regional General Manager, Jebel Ali International Hotels welcomes guests to the event
Graham Cooke, president, WTA, underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across the Middle East.
He said: “Dubai’s appetite for pushing boundaries makes it one the world’s most innovative tourism destinations, as well as a most fitting host to start our WTA Grand Tour 2012.
“Our winners are also drawn from the entire breadth of the Middle East, reflecting the monumental gains that the region’s travel and tourism sector has made in recent years.
“I am sure these organisations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on 12 December 2012.”
Mohammad Arkobi, left, picks up the Middle East’s Leading Hotelier award from World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke
David Thomson, Regional General Manager, Jebel Ali International Hotels, added: “My congratulations go out wholeheartedly to all winners and nominees.
“The evening was a true reflection of the best in the Middle East travel industry and it was an absolute honour to host the Middle East Ceremony of WTA at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.”
Other WTA Grand Tour 2012 regional heats are set to take place in Turks & Caicos, Nairobi (Kenya), Algarve (Portugal), and Singapore. The winners will then go head-to-head in WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon on December 12th 2012.