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WTA Award Winners at WTM

World Travel Award winners expect their awards to boost awareness of their brands during tough market conditions. 

Speaking at this year’s World Travel Market, the winners said they would use their awards for marketing and brand recognition.

Oceanwide Expeditions won the World’s Leading Polar Expedition Company at this year’s World Travel Awards.

Speaking at this year’s World Travel Market, in ExCeL, London, managing director Michel van Gessel (pictured) described the award as giving “a great image for the company”.

“Winning the award is an excellent marketing tool for us personally, but it’s also great promotion for the region.


“It shows people that there is still a lot of hope out there for the market.

“The market is tough, but opportunities are out there and winning this award shows people we do a great job.”

Van Gessel said it had been a tough trading year for the group, but sales were steady compared to last year.

Oceanwide expect sales to pick up in 2010 with the launch of a new ship, Plancius on December 8.

The former oceanographic research vessel has been converted into a 110-passenger ship and will operate in Antarctica.

Hacienda Tres Rios hosted this year’s North & Central America Gala Ceremony, in September, and won two awards.

The hotel secured the Mexico & Central America’s Leading All-Inclusive and the Mexico & Central America’s Leading Green Hotel.

Chief executive Orlando Arroyo described winning the awards as a “huge honour” for the hotel.

Arroyo said he held the environmental award particularly close to his heart, as he was the driving force behind the hotel’s environmentally-friendly construction.

The hotel is built in one of the country’s most environmentally-sensitive locations – mangrove swamps – but is built in such a way that it is built within it rather than destroying it.

Arroyo said he was confident that the pick-up in the economy and the eradication of swine flu would help boost tourism to the region.

Island Routes is the official destination experience company for multi-World Travel Award winners, Sandals.

Island Routes rebranded and relaunched in the US in October and World Travel Market marks the launch of the brand in the UK.

General manager Dominique Peterkin said the aim of the company was to get Sandals’ guests to experience the islands beyond the resorts.

“So we do for example catamaran cruises in Antigua, rainforest tours in Saint Lucia and sea adventures in Turks & Caicos.

“Each island is different and it’s about getting people to think beyond sun, sea and sand.”

Island Routes is also marketing to the trade and Peterkin encouraged operators to pre-sell the tours on top of the holidays.