The World Travel Awards has unveiled the host destinations for its 2010 Grand Tour.
After a rigorous selection procedure, Dubai (UAE), Johannesburg (South Africa), Orlando (Florida, USA), Antalya (Turkey), New Delhi (India) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) have all emerged victorious.
Each will stage one of the six World Travel Awards regional ceremonies, with victors progressing to the Grand Final in London (UK) in November.
Celebrating its 17th anniversary, the World Travel Awards has grown into a global search for the very best travel and tourism brands, and is heralded by the Wall Street Journal as the “Oscars of the travel industry”.
The growth of sport tourism - a sector now worth US$600 billion annually - is reflected strongly in the choice of this year’s WTA host venues.
Johannesburg – playing host to 2010 FIFA World Cup – will hold the Africa Ceremony on 7 July, while newly anointed 2016 Olympics host Rio de Janeiro will follow with the South America Ceremony on 20 October.
London, currently gearing up for the 2012 Olympics, will host the WTA Grand Final on 7 November.
Meanwhile, those destinations that have created tourism miracles away from the sporting field will also feature prominently in this year’s WTA Grand Tour.
In the UAE, for example, the Address Hotel – a crown jewel of the Emaar Dubai Marina development - will host the Middle East Ceremony, showcasing the delights of this city-within-a city on 3 May.
The Claridges Surajkund, India, will assume the WTA baton on 17 October for the Asia & Australasia Ceremony. A first of its kind luxury business hotel in Delhi, the property blends the best of an exclusive business hotel with a luxury resort.
Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President, World Travel Awards, said: “The World Travel Awards is about seeking excellence in travel and tourism. Our hosts represent some of the most innovative and exciting places to visit in 2010 – destinations with such a relentless drive to do things better they stand in a class of their own.”
He adds: “Competition in this year’s WTA Grand Tour will undoubtedly prove hotter than ever. We have received a tremendous response to self nominations, which are up a phenomenal 50 per cent on 2009, with applicants from over 70 countries worldwide.”
“This increase, in the face of a global recession, demonstrates the vital role that World Travel Awards now plays within the travel industry. More multinational companies than ever, ranging from Etihad Airways and TAP Portugal to InterContinental Hotels and Disney, are spearheading their global marketing campaigns with their award victories,” he added.
“This level of accountability has led to WTA becoming the “Oscars” of the global travel industry, broadcast by BBC World News and other networks to over 254 million households worldwide and attended by the industry’s key decision makers.
“For the tourism trade, winning a World Travel Award is more than an award – it is an endorsement from the thousands of professionals from around the globe, as well as a gold seal to the consumer of travel excellence guaranteed.
“As confidence returns to the global economy in 2010, the World Travel Awards will reward those travel and tourism players that are spearheading the recovery. And judging by the quality of nominations received ahead of the Grand Tour, 2010 is destined to be the biggest and most hotly-contested yet for the World Travel Awards.”
World Travel Awards Grand Tour 2010
Middle East Gala Ceremony, Dubai, UAE, 3 May 2010
Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony, Johannesburg, South Africa, 7 July 2010
North & Central American & Caribbean Gala Ceremony, Orlando, Florida, USA, 11
Europe Gala Ceremony, Antalya, Turkey, 1 October 2010
Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony, New Delhi, India, 14 October 2010
South America Gala Ceremony, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 October 2010
Grand Final, London, UK 7 November 2010