Breaking Travel News
Mattar scoops top World Travel Awards title
Haitham Mattar, left, collects the trophy from World Travel Awards founder Graham Cooke

Mattar scoops top World Travel Awards title

Haitham Mattar has been recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to the Travel & Tourism Industry by the World Travel Awards.

With over 25 years of experience in destination development, marketing and promotions, the leading tourism and hospitality figurehead completed a successful four-year stint as chief executive of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority last year.

Mattar’s cross-continent experience and valuable global insights allowed him to effectively lead Ras Al Khaimah’s destination growth strategy, through capturing existing and emerging source market movements and international tourism trends. 

He was also instrumental in the concept and delivery of globally recognised tourism demand generators in the emirate including Jebel Jais Flight: the world’s longest zipline and the region’s first Via Ferrata.

Mattar was elected as vice chair of the UNWTO Board of Affiliate Members as well as being appointed as a member of the steering committee for the UNWTO International Year for Sustainable Development in Tourism.


Recently taking up a new position as a senior advisor to the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage, Mattar is hoping to use his knowledge and expertise to support the SCTH’s efforts in developing the sector for the kingdom.

In 2019 Mattar was named ‘Tourism Promotion CEO of the Year’ at the Global CEO Excellence Awards, he was featured in the Arabian Business ‘most powerful Arabs’ list, in addition to being named One of Top100 smartest people in the UAE, ‘Leisure and Tourism CEO of the Year’ at the prestigious CEO Middle East Awards and ‘Business Leader of the Year’ at the Hozpitality Excellence Awards.

Speaking to Amy Kitchingman for Breaking Travel News, Mattar said: “It is very humbling and a real honor for me to be presented with this prestigious Global Award. Being reconised for my efforts and contribution to the one industry I have passion for, is truly rewarding” Mattar said.

“I have a great deal of passion for hospitality and tourism. I started in the industry since the age of 17 and through my career, I’ve always said ‘there are many things I don’t know, but the one thing I know extremely well is Travel & Tourism’.

Presenting the Award, Graham Cook, World Travel Awards Founder, said “Haitham is a key asset to the tourism industry and driver of growth. His unprecedented commitment and passion to the industry, as well as his knowledge and experience in dealing with multi-cultures is what makes him a unique leader”.

Mattar held several senior roles in the hospitality industry including his role as Sr. Vice President Sales & Marketing- Hilton Worldwide in charge of Eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia, the Middle & Africa. Mattar also held Senior roles with IHG and Marriott.

“I started in this industry when I was 17-years-old and throughout my career I have always said ‘there are many things I don’t know, but the only thing I do know is hospitality and tourism’.

“This is what I have lived and breathed my whole life and to have been recognised for all the work I have done throughout the years is really rewarding and satisfying.”

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards gala ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

For more information about World Travel Awards visit the official website, or take a look at a series of images from the presentation here.
More Information

Breaking Travel News recently spoke to Mattar about the World Travel Awards and what the title means to him. Take a look at what he had to say below: