Europe’s travel elite prepares to do battle at World Travel Awards

The top brass of European travel and tourism are gathering at the Rixos Premium Belek, Antalya, Turkey, as the location prepares to host the World Travel Awards European Ceremony this evening.

Competitors – including top ranking representatives from the leading destinations, hotels, and airlines – will all be hoping to walk away with the most sought-after achievement in the travel and tourism industry – a coveted WTA trophy.

The awards – described by the Wall Street Journal as the Oscars of the global travel and tourism industry – have helped improve quality, value and customer service all over the world during the past 17 years.

Nominees this time around include some of the most respected and successful travel names in the business including: Europcar, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Hilton Hotels, Lufthansa, Hertz, Mardan Palace, Tui Travel, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and The Rocco Forte Collection.

Fire of Anatolia

Entertainment for the evening will come in the form of the world-famous Fire of Anatolia dance act. This stunning cast of 45 dancers step, stomp and swirl to traditional folk music from the Black Sea to the Balkans.

Traditional Turkish dancing with a collaboration of ballet and modern dance, the performance is backed by swirling Turkish music and drumming. Fire of Anatolia also holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest dance performance with 241 steps per minute.

Hosting the event is Seda Akgul, a familiar face on Turkish TV including TV8. Other entertainment on the night includes The Magic Drifters.

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Fire of Anatolia are set to wow the crowds

Around the World

European nominees are among the 5,000 nominated companies listed across more than a 1,000 categories - including airlines, cruise companies, destinations, resorts and hotels in 162 countries – who will take part in the WTA this year.

The highly contended title for Europe’s Leading Airline sees Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, TAP Portugal and Turkish Airlines fighting it out for the coveted title.

Meanwhile, competition is fierce among the countries up for Europe’s Leading Destination.

The contenders this year are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Crete, Dublin, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Pafos, Paris, Prague, Rome, Tallinn, Venice, Vienna and Vilnuis.

Italy has the highest odds being the only country to have two destinations nominated. 

Going head to head for the title of Europe’s Leading Marketing Campaign are: Expedia.com, “Where you book matters”; Spanish Institute of Tourism, “Spain, a country to share”; STA Travel, iPhone campaign; The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel Amsterdam, “The Worst Hotel in the World”; Thomas Cook, 2010 Marketing Campaign; Visit London, “Only in London”; Visit Denmark & Expedia, Joint Campaign and Yorkshire.com, “Welcome to Yorkshire”.

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Turkish Airlines is among the favourites to scoop an award

But it’s the struggle between hotels, large and small, that are likely to see the fiercest competition.

Battling it out for the highly sought after title of Europe’s Leading Hotel are Aquapura Douro Valley, Portugal; Castel Monastero, Italy; Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul, Turkey; Donbass Palace Hotel, Ukraine; Dubrovnik Palace Hotel Conference Centre & Spa, Croatia; Grand Hotel Lienz, Austria; Hotel Le Bristol Paris, France; Hotel Ritz Paris, France; Leši? Dimitri Palace, Croatia; The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Ireland and White Pod, Switzerland.

In addition to overall Europe categories, there are awards for 57 countries including: Andorra, Belgium, England, France, Greece, Iceland, Monaco, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey and more.

Travel industry professionals throughout the world have been voting online for their preferred companies and organisations during the past four months.

Voting has now closed and votes counted ready for the big night.

Consumers increasingly use the WTA list of winners as a reliable guide and means of reassurance when choosing their holiday. Companies and destinations that finish up on the winners podium, receive extensive commercial benefits and global profile.

For a full list of nominees for Europe log on to the WTA website.

Rixos Premium Belek, the leading resort hotel in Belek’s Ileribasi district will be hosting the event.

Main sponsors include Turkish Airlines and World Mobi.

Winners of the Europe Gala Ceremony go through to the final of the World Travel Awards in London on Sunday November 7th, immediately prior to World Travel Market.