Dr Tobie Aupindi, the Managing Director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts, has scooped the blue-riband “Africa’s Tourism Personality for the Year” at the World Travel Awards in Johannesburg.
The event, held for the first time at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, saw Aupindi collect the coveted title following a lengthy nomination and endorsement process.
The Namibian strategist fended off challenges from South African Airways Chief Executive Officer Siza Mzimela, David Coutts-Trotter the CEO of Sun International, Otto Stehlik, the Chairman of the Protea Hotel Group and David Wood, the MD of Southern Sun Hotel.
NWR was also voted Namibia’s Leading Tourism Brand at the glittering gala ceremony.
President of the WTA, Graham Cooke, said that the travel industry had recognized Dr. Aupindi’s achievements and business acumen over the past four years in spearheading the turnaround of the state-owned enterprise NWR.
He said: “The Government sent Aupindi on a very tough mission and he has succeeded. The world travel industry recognises people who are at least making a hard effort to bring positive changes to the lives of many. So, winning these awards represents a significant acknowledgement to Dr Aupindi and to NWR.”
The WTA aims to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel, tourism and hospitality industries, and has been hailed as the “Oscars of the travel industry” by the Wall Street Journal.
It is a celebration of individuals and organisations that have made the greatest contribution to the global tourism and travel industry, and recognises those brands that are driving the industry to greater heights and innovation in travel.
Hundreds of Africa’s tourism leaders, including senior professionals, high-ranking government representatives, international business leaders and people from the entertainment business attended the event.
Winners of awards at the Africa and Indian Ocean gala ceremony will now have to compete against the best in the world at the World Travel Awards Grand Finale, which will take place in London in November on the eve of World Travel Market.
Aupindi paid tribute to the international business personalities and travel executives from all over the world who voted for him as Africa’s personality of the year.
“It’s touching and motivating to me that I am appreciated by people from so far away,” Aupindi said.