Europe’s travel elite have walked off with top honours at the World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony at the new Conrad Algarve.
Lufthansa, Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, DFDS Seaways, Disneyland Paris and Norwegian Cruise Line were among the brands to emerge victorious at the event.
A packed delegation of VIPs, senior tourism figures and international media travelled from 35 nations to attend the event, which was held in partnership with Conrad Algarve and Turismo do Algarve.
It was an evening of sweet success for countries across the continent.
Still basking in Olympic glory, London fended off competition from the likes of Venice, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Madrid, Prague and Paris to win the coveted title of “Europe’s Leading City Break Destination”.
Meanwhile Hôtel Le Bristol (Paris) nudged ahead of Hotel Cipriani (Venice), The Dorchester (London), Four Seasons Hotel Milano and Grand Hotel Europe (St Petersburg) to claim the title of “Europe’s Leading Hotel”.
Turkey’s ascendancy up the tourism order was acknowledged with The Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism named “Europe’s Leading Tourist Board”.
The nation’s leading-edge hotels also scooped a series individual awards, including “Europe’s Leading Luxury Hotel” (Mardan Palace), “Europe’s Leading Luxury Resort” (Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa) and “Europe’s Leading New Luxury Hotel” (Angel’s Peninsula).
Hospitality veteran and the founder of Hoar Cross Hall, Stephen Joynes, was honoured with a “Lifetime Achievement Award”, while the English county of Yorkshire was given a special award for Innovation in Marketing.
The WTA awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ by the global media, highlights and rewards those travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry over the past year.
Cumhur Ozen, general manager, Mardan Palace, picks up the trophy for Europe’s Leading Spa Resort
WTA president Graham Cooke underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across Europe.
He said: “During times of economic austerity world-class brands come into their own, and the winners at our Europe Ceremony represent the cream of the continent.
“These organisations will undoubtedly fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on December 12th 2012.”
He added: “The ceremony has also served as a fitting spotlight for the Algarve, reflecting the vital role of tourism in the region and its overall contribution to the Portuguese economy.
“The Algarve is also one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, and the new Conrad Algarve has set a new precedent for luxury.”
The luxury resort enjoys a prime location at Quinta do Lago, the home of world-class golf courses and beautiful beaches.
António Pina, president, Turismo do Algarve, collects the trophy for Europe’s Leading Beach Destination
Joachim Hartl, hotel manager, Conrad Algarve, said: “Congratulations to all who were successful this evening. As the latest luxury hotel to open in the Algarve we are proud to host Europe’s tourism elite during the awards and to showcase our exquisite property.
“By focusing on the individual, Conrad Algarve offers guests style and exceptional service in the alluring Algarve region of Portugal – a must-visit destination for those seeking a sophisticated, modern retreat.”
WTA’s Europe Gala Ceremony 2012 marked the third leg of WTA’s Grand Tour, a global search for the world’s leading travel brands, which also includes regional heats in Dubai, Singapore and Turks & Caicos.
The winners of these legs will then go head-to-head at WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, New Delhi, India on December 12th 2012.
António Pina, president, Algarve Promotion Bureau & Algarve Tourism Board, concluded: “It was with enormous pride that Algarve hosted such a prestigious event as World Travel Awards.
“This was a unique opportunity to promote the region as a first-class destination, with exceptional facilities and an enviable climate like no other country in Europe.
“We are delighted and grateful to the organisation to have chosen Algarve for such a memorable event.”
To see the full list of winners visit the official website.