The travel brands which have shown the greatest strength amid the global economic uncertainty are to be acknowledged at the Grand Final of World Travel Awards.
The event, the highlight of the tourism calendar, is being hosted in Doha in partnership with Qatar Tourism Authority on January 11th 2012.
The likes of The Ritz-Carlton, Lufthansa, Starwood Hotels, Jumeirah, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Abercrombie & Kent, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons are among those in the running for top honours.
The most important decision-makers in global travel and tourism are set to attend the glittering gala ceremony, which is being staged at Katara Cultural Village (pictured), Doha’s ground-breaking new arts and exhibitions complex.
Categories to watch include “World’s Leading Airline”, which features a heavy Asian and Middle Eastern contingent, reflecting how the two regions are leading aviation out of recession.
Nominees include Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
WTA president Graham Cooke underlined the core strengths of the Grand Final nominees.
He said: “During times of economic uncertainty world-class brands come into their own, continuing to grow market share whilst competitors flounder, traits demonstrated by all those travel brands that have made it to our Grand Final in Doha.
“As one of the most progressive nations in the world, Qatar will prove a fitting host, and our ceremony will provide an excellent opportunity for the captains of travel and tourism to experience first hand the incredible array of projects happening there.”
Another key category is “World’s Leading Hotel”, with Copacabana Palace (Rio), Le Bristol (Paris), St. Regis (Singapore), The Dorchester (London), Burj Al Arab (Dubai) and W Hotel (Barcelona) among the hot contenders.
This year’s new categories include “World’s Leading Dive Destination” with Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) and Sulawesi (Indonesia) all nominated.
Qatar’s travel and hospitality industry has also been recognised with nominations for Doha as “World’s Leading Business Travel Destination”, “World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination” as well as other nominations for Qatar Airways, Qatari Diar, the Qatar Tourism Authority and Regency Travel & Tours.
The evening marks the culmination of a year-long search for the very best travel and tourism brands in the world, and will feature the winners from WTA’s regional heats competing head to head.
The regional ceremonies included Middle East (Dubai, UAE), Europe (Antalya, Turkey), Africa & Indian Ocean (Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt), Asia & Australasia (Bangkok, Thailand), and Caribbean & the Americas (Montego Bay, Jamaica).
Qatar Tourism Authority Chairman, Ahmed Al Nuaimi, said: “The staging of this ceremony in Doha is an illustration of the confidence the travel and tourism industry has in Qatar as well as the potential it has to develop further.
“Qatar’s strong presence in the list of finalists for the awards is showing the world that we are a country with a lot to offer travellers as well as one that operates at the highest international standards.”
WTA has partnered with tourism marketing firm Phenomena to bring the ceremony to Qatar.