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Competition for biz travelers draws votes

  The World Travel Awards is announcing the results of one of the world’s most comprehensive travel trade polls of its kind, with the addition of new categories for business and first class products.World Travel Awards: 12 years of travel benchmarking

This year saw ten new awards for business and ten for first class air travel, split by region. There were also 20 new business hotel categories, expanded to include major commercial cities across the globe.

The addition of these new categories reflects the proliferation of product offerings in this segment, as the business travel sector continues to gain momentum. These new categories proved popular amongst travel professionals who cast their votes this year, contributing to a record-breaking number of online pollsters, which increased 12 percent compared to 2004.

Voting from the Middle East also featured more prominently, with new categories introduced in this field, as awareness and recognition of the region as an upcoming tourism destination continues unabated. The Middle East reported a 14 percent growth in voting, helped by the fact that media partner Arab Tourism Channel broadcast an advertisement up to ten times a day.

Interest in the travel technology sector grew with more travel professionals voting for categories in this sector. The rise of ticketless travel, online booking for both flights and hotels means that travel technology features more prominently in the minds of travel professionals worldwide. The sector further expanded this year with the introduction of a new award category - “World’s Leading Travel Distribution Services.”


Gala ceremony

Trophies for the awards were given out at a gala ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House, which was broadcast globally by BBC World, Discovery Channel and the Arab Travel Channel, as well as other media outlets across the globe. It was a night to remember as the 500 guests enjoyed the presence of TV personalities Ruby Wax and Maureen Lipman, as well as performances by Cirque de Soleil and London’s West End smash hit musical “Dancin’ in the Street.”

Global heads of industry rubbed shoulders with Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge chairman of Visit Britain, as well as the ministers of tourism for Greece, Cyprus, Turks & Caicos and the COOs of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, British Airways, American Express and Delta Air Lines.

Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of Nakheel, Akbar Al Baker, Chairman, Qatar Airways were also in attendance.

On the evening, trophies were well received by British Airways, which was voted “World’s Leading Airline,” the city of London, which grabbed “World’s Leading Destination, while the Burj al Arab in Dubai picked up “World’s Leading Hotel.”

World’s leading travel experience

This year if you are looking for the world’s leading travel experience, you are likely to have had a conference at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, taken a flight from Dubai International Airport, traveling first class on British Airways. Having had an in-flight meal on Qatar Airways, while using Virgin Atlantic’s in-flight entertainment you would have landed in London spent a night at the Baglioni Hotel organized by American Express Travel purchased with your Visa card before cruising on the QM2 for a honeymoon in Barbados.

...this is what the travel industry has voted for in various categories and are just some of the results of this year’s World Travel Awards.

From the Seychelles to Scotland, Brazil to the Bahamas, travel professionals have dolled out World Travel Awards across the globe. For some, the World Travel Awards is a coming of age on the tourist map, for others it is an endorsement of their new contribution to the travel industry and for many it is recognition for continued achievements in the tourism trade. Some companies have won an award for the twelfth time, others have knocked their competitors from the top within their designated categories.

A total of 156,000 travel agencies and professionals in over 140 countries worldwide have been asked to vote for their leading travel destinations, airlines, hotels and companies around the world.

“The survey is truly global in scale, independent and accountable,” says Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Awards.

“With a growing number of travel award ceremonies in the marketplace, we are still the most comprehensive travel survey out there, with global coverage.”

The World Travel Awards

Voting started in May of this year and ended in September. During this five month period 3,500 different nominations competed, with more than two million individual voting decisions completed, returned and processed using the online voting form.

The World Travel Awards accounts for all sectors of the global travel industry, with over 80 winners alone for the “World’s Leading Travel” category.

“Since founding the World Travel Awards in 1993, we have seen a growing sophistication in the travel and tourism trade and increased competition. Yet our winners have always been at the forefront of this process with their initiatives and products,” says Cooke.

“This year’s winners are no different, although 2005 has seen its fair share of global events from hurricanes to soaring oil prices. Yet our winners have continued to survive and thrive—they’ve seen challenges as opportunities and led the way for the industry.”

“Voted for independently by travel professionals worldwide, our award winners are having a major impact and influence on the world’s travel and tourism industry. They are the true innovators and benchmarks for our trade, especially in the areas of customer service, technology, operational efficiency, product offering and style,” explains Cooke.

The full list of World Travel Awards 2005 winners can be found at