Jamaican sprinting superstar, Usain Bolt, has beat off competition from the likes of David Beckham, Rafael Nadal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Spacey and Kevin Costner to win the coveted World Travel Awards “Face of Travel 2010”.
The “Face of Travel” award acknowledged the celebrity endorsement that has made the biggest contribution to the travel and tourism industry over the past year, with Bolt voted number one for his role fronting the “One you go you know” campaign for Jamaica Tourist Board.
Jamaica’s Minister for Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett collected the awards on behalf of Bolt at the World Travel Awards Grand Final 2010, which took place at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in November.
He said: “Usain Bolt has been a phenomenal face across the globe since the Beijing Olympics. He has done extremely well for us not only in driving Jamaica as a destination, but also providing his talent to create the campaign that has won the ‘Face of Travel’ award.”
Other nominees included David Beckham serving as ambassador for England’s 2018 World Cup bid, which earned him the nod for boosting his nation’s tourism profile. Meanwhile Iron Maiden frontman and airline pilot Bruce Dickenson was also nominated for his new job as marketing manager of Astraeus Airlines.
Ex-footballer/ex-popstar couple Jamie and Louise Redknapp made it onto the shortlist for their hit ad campaign, which led to a surge in summer bookings for Thomas Cook.
As well as a great 2010 on court, Rafael Nadal also fronted a hugely-successful campaign highlighting the sport tourism credentials of his native Balearic Islands. The Majorcan tennis ace was voted “World Tennis Player of the Year” at the World Sports Awards last year.
Hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry” by the Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards is recognised globally as the ultimate travel accolade.
Other awards won on the evening included “World’s Leading Hotel” which went to Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, and “World’s Leading Airline”, which went to Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways.
The WTA 2010 Grand Final marked the climax of a year-long search to find the very best travel companies in the world, and followed heats in Dubai, Johannesburg, Antalya, Delhi and Jamaica.
And the Winner is…
(Above: Usain Bolt in “Once you go, you know” commercial for the Jamaica Tourist Board)
(Above: Kevin Spacey has given American Airlines a lift)
(Above: Golden couple Jamie & Louise Rednapp lift an otherwise flat summer for Thomas Cook)
(Above: An Austrian and an Englishman - the faces of Californian tourism)
(Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickenson - the new marketing manager of Astraeus Airlines)