Middle East winners announced at World Travel Awards

Middle East winners announced at World Travel Awards

Highness Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khalid has received a rapturous reception picking up the World Travel Awards ‘Middle East Travel Personality of the Year’ honour in Dubai.

In an event hosted by The Address Dubai Marina, Abu Dhabi also walked off with the coveted title of ‘Middle East’s Leading Destination’.

Pictured: His Highness Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khalid collects ‘Middle East Travel Personality of the Year’ from Graham Cooke, President & Founder, World Travel Awards

Etihad Airways triumphed, taking home a series of major awards including ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline’, ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline Economy Class’, ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline First Class’, ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline Inflight Entertainment’, ‘Middle East’s Leading Cabin Staff’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading International Marketing Campaign’.

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Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways and the team celebrate winning six World Travel Awards, including ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline’

Dubai’s Burj Al Arab was also successful, presented with the ‘Middle East’s Leading Hotel’ award.

The event was attended by more than 400 senior industry figures from the travel industry, including Ahmad Hussein, Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, His Excellency Sheikh Faisal Khalid Sultan Al Qassemi, Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha Bint Abdul Ameer Bin Ali, Minister of Tourism of Sultanate of Oman, His Excellency Jamal Al Hai, Senior Vice President of Dubai Airport, Bernhard Bohnenberger, Chairman & Managing Director of Six Senses Resorts & Spas, John Bullough, CEO of Aldar Properties, Ali H. Lakhraim, President & CEO of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Ahmed Al Mammari, Vice President of Royal Jet Group and Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways.

Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Emaar and Safar Travel & Tourism were among those who triumphed at the ceremony.

Rotana, in particular, made a strong show of force, winning an impressive total of nine awards, including the highly sought-after ‘Middle East’s Leading Hotel Brand’.

Emaar took the coveted title of ‘Middle East’s Leading Tourism Property Development Company’; Safar Travel & Tourism was awarded with ‘Middle East’s Leading Business Travel Agency’ and ‘Abu Dhabi’s Leading Travel Agency’, both for the second consecutive year.

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Ahmad Hussein, Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and the team with David Falcon, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai and Qatar Airways won awards for ‘Middle East’s Leading Resort’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline Business Class’ respectively.

The Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi was voted unanimously as ‘Middle East’s Leading New Hotel’.

Another unanimous vote was for ‘Middle East’s Responsible Tourism Award’, which went to Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai.

Chairman of Al Khozama Management Company, Highness Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khalid also graciously accepted the World Travel Awards ‘Middle East Travel Personality of the Year’ prize.

Perhaps best known as a founder of the world-famous King Faisal Foundation, Prince Bandar is also widely credited for setting a new benchmark for excellence in Saudi Arabian hospitality - including the ground-breaking Al Faisaliah Center in Riyadh.

In addition to the overall Middle East winners, there were award categories too for Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Makkah, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ra al-Khaimah and Sharjah.

Key winners in the regions included AKMC-Al Shohada Hotel, awarded ‘Makkah’s Leading Hotel’, Six Senses Zighy Bay, named ‘Oman’s Leading Resort’ and Regency Travel & Tours, first in the new category of ‘Qatar’s Leading Travel Agency’.

The full list of winners for the World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony 2010 can be found by logging on to the WTA website

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Nancy Ajram headlined the gala ceremony

The World Travel Awards - now in its 17th year and regarded as the global travel and tourism industry equivalent of the ‘Oscars’- is helping to drive up standards of customer service and business excellence throughout the world.

“The Middle East is a shining example to the international industry, even in the challenging times that this region and destinations worldwide have been experiencing in the past two years,” said Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President of World Travel Awards.

“World Travel Awards believes one of the key priorities in travel and tourism is making sure that companies and organisations have the right type of skills and training to underpin the industry and help create new jobs and prosperity for the region.

“As the Middle East industry becomes more sophisticated, these jobs are inevitably becoming complex and high value,” he added.

“Skilled people are the lynchpin of the Middle East’s future growth potential.

“No travel and tourism company can hope to be successful in these awards unless they offer unparalleled customer service”, continued Mr Cooke.

The key objective, however, is alleviating inconsistencies of delivery.

“Too often customer service quality can fluctuate and create real challenges in maintaining a reputation for excellence - but this is clearly not the case for our winners! Without exception, they have reliably demonstrated outstanding service. 

“I want to congratulate them all. Their contribution to global tourism is truly remarkable. They should be justly proud of their achievements,” concluded Mr Cooke.

The overall winners will now compete against the crème de la crème throughout the world at World Travel Awards Grand Final which will take place in London (UK) in November, immediately before World Travel Market.