DUBAI, UAE – The Middle East’s leading travel brands have shared top honors at a VIP gala ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards (WTA) at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Dubai on April 30, 2012.
A packed delegation of VIPs, senior tourism figures, and international media traveled from more than 30 nations to attend WTA’s Middle East Ceremony 2012.
Dubai’s rapid ascendancy up the global tourism order was further strengthened after it was named “Middle East’s Leading Destination” for the second year running. The emirate’s insatiable appetite for pushing boundaries also led to a number of its hotels picking up awards, including Atlantis The Palm (“Middle East’s Leading Resort”). Meanwhile Dubai International Airport was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airport.”
Dubai-based hospitality group, Jumeirah, enjoyed an evening of rich rewards. Victories included “UAE’s Leading Spa Resort” (Jumeirah Zabeel Saray), “Dubai’s Leading Resort” (Madinat Jumeirah), “UAE’s Leading Hotel” (Jumeirah at Etihad Towers), and Dubai’s Leading Hotel (Burj Al Arab).
Neighboring Abu Dhabi also reveled in travel triumph. Emirates Palace won “Middle East’s Leading Luxury Resort,” while Etihad Airways was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airline” after another record-breaking year in which the UAE flag carrier cruised into profit.
Saudi Arabia’s emergence as a tourism force was recognized with Makkah Clock Royal Tower – A Fairmont Hotel, winning the blue riband title of “Middle East’s Leading Hotel” for the first time.
Lebanese popstar, Carole Samaha, headlined the glittering show, with Wonho Chung providing the comedy, and the South African string quartet, Sterling EQ, also performing.
Graham E. Cooke, President and Founder, WTA, underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across the Middle East.
He said: “Dubai’s appetite for pushing boundaries makes it one the world’s most innovative tourism destinations, as well as a most fitting host to start our WTA Grand Tour 2012.
“Our winners are also drawn from the entire breadth of the Middle East, reflecting the monumental gains that the region’s travel and tourism sector has made in recent years. I am sure these organizations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India, on December 12, 2012.”
David Thomson, Regional General Manager, Jebel Ali International Hotels, added: “My congratulations go out wholeheartedly to all winners and nominees. The evening was a true reflection of the best in the Middle East travel industry, and it was an absolute honor to host the Middle East Ceremony of WTA at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.”
Other WTA Grand Tour 2012 regional heats are set to take place in Turks & Caicos, Nairobi (Kenya), Algarve (Portugal), and Singapore. The winners will then go head-to-head in WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at the Oberoi, Gurgaon, on December 12, 2012.