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World Travel Awards 2009 Grand Final winners announced

World Travel Awards 2009 Grand Final winners announced

Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, Visa, India Tourism, TUI Travel and Silversea Cruises were amongst companies who triumphed during the World Travel Awards Grand Final that was staged at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London’s Mayfair last night.

The awards, described by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the global travel and tourism industry, revealed who are the ‘best of the best’ in the world.  The Grand Final ceremony concludes the 2009 regional tour which has taken the World Travel Awards to Dubai, South Africa, Mexico and Portugal, celebrating the achievements of the leading lights of the travel and tourism industry.

World winners included: Etihad Airways (pictured above), “World’s Leading Airline”; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, “World’s Leading Hotel Brand”; London, England, “World’s Leading Destination”; Dnata, “World’s Leading Travel Management Company” and Regency Travel and Tours, Qatar, “World’s Leading Travel Agency”.

A number of technology awards were also presented on the night: won “World’s Leading Travel Booking Website” and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts scooped “World’s Leading Hotel Brand Website”.

The full list of winners for the World Travel Awards can be found by logging on to


Increasingly, the awards are known as raising the bar for ultimate customer service and overall business performance. Growing numbers of travel companies, airlines, operators and resorts compete to walk away with one of the coveted titles. According to the organisers, research has shown that winning a World Travel Award increases international brand recognition, building consumer loyalty.

Over 1,000 travel companies were nominated in 94 World categories and 14 Travel Technology categories in the Grand Final ceremony.

Nearly 1,000 senior management and decision makers from the world’s travel and tourism industry came together to celebrate their achievements at this star-studded event. Some of the thought leaders who were present included: Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President, WTTC; Kumari Selja, Minister of Tourism, India;  Steve Ridgway, CEO, Virgin Atlantic Airways;  Hon. Ed Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board; His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways.

Also in attendance was Shane O’Hare, President & CEO, Royal Jet Group; Paul White, President & CEO, Orient-Express Hotels; Clive Jacobs, Chairman, TW Group; Fiona Jefferey, Chairman, WTM & Chairman & Founder, Just a Drop; Nigel Turner, CEO, FlyBMI; Antonio Pedro F. de Mello, Secretary of Tourism, State of Rio de Janeiro and Ahmed Abdulla M. Al Muaimi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority.

There were also 120 Miss World 2009 finalists present, supporting their respective destinations.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards commented: “The past 12 months have brought several challenges, namely the economic downturn and the outbreak of swine flu, which has impacted travel and tourism worldwide; today’s winners have not only been recognised as the best in their region, but they have proved themselves to be the best in the World and the number one choice of travel professionals and consumers alike.” He added: “They have remained focused on their long term objectives, and continued to deliver above and beyond the call of duty, setting an industry example.”

Throughout the evening, winners were presented with their prestigious awards by key industry figures, with live entertainment which included performances from Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson, international comedian and actor Bobby Davro and British Socialite Tamara Beckwith.
These inspirational organisations will continue to reap profile and commercial benefits in 2010.

Cooke explained: “This year’s World winners can display the official World Travel Awards symbol with pride on their sales and marketing literature, offering travellers a cast-iron assurance that what they are buying is a guarantee of travel excellence.”

Just a Drop was the official charity for the evening and guests were invited to make a donation to this important charity that helps provide clean and safe water where it is urgently needed.