World Travel Awards Media Pack

Brief History of WTA

World Travel Awards (WTA) was established in 1993 by Graham E. Cooke to seek out and reward the very best travel organisations in the world – those brands pushing the boundaries of excellence and implementing ground-breaking ideas.

WTA has developed into the most prestigious and comprehensive awards programme in travel and tourism, and is recognised worldwide as the hallmark of industry excellence.

The Wall Street Journal is among the many media that have heralded WTA as “the Oscar’s of the travel industry”.

The first ever ceremony was held in Hollywood in 1994. Since then WTA has hosted gala ceremonies every year to celebrate the best in the international travel industry. Finals have taken place in London, New York, Las Vegas to Barbados, Turks & Caicos and Kuala Lumpur, amongst others.

In 2007, WTA launched its Grand Tour featuring regional ceremonies in five continents every year, with the winners of these progressing to WTA’s Grand Final.

Regional events cover Asia & Australasia, Africa & Indian Ocean, Caribbean and the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

In 2013, regional ceremonies took place in the Maldives, Peru, Kenya, Antigua, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Antalya (Turkey). The Grand Final was hosted by La Cigale Hotel in Doha, Qatar.

Main sponsors in 2013 included BBC World News, the Antigua & Barbuda Department of Tourism, Kenya Tourism Board, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, PromPerú, Sandals Resorts, and WeClick Media.

WTA’s official list of worldwide media partners includes: International Herald Tribune, CNBC Arabiya, National Geographic Traveller, Breaking Travel News, Khaleej Times, Trav Talk, Trade Arabia, TTN, Travel Daily News, Focus on Travel News, Travel Daily News, Publituris, Passport Magazine, Travel & Leisure China and Xenios World.

This global media partner network has a monthly readership of 1.5 million and a TV audience reach of 90 million.

A total of 192 different TV channels and publications attended WTA events in 2011, including live broadcasts by CNN and Bloomberg.

For full details, including hi-res photos from all the ceremonies and video footage, visit

Did you know that...?

  • • More than 5,000 travel organisations are nominated every year

  • • 47 European nations competed in WTA’s 2013 Grand Tour, alongside 24 from Asia, 13 from South America, 11 from Australasia, seven from Central America, 23 from Africa, 16 from the Middle East, and 31 from the Caribbean islands

  • • More than 150 media outlets covered WTA’s 2013 Grand Final in Doha

  • • More than 50 WTA ceremonies have taken place to date

  • • “Travel Personality of the Year” is WTA’s highest individual accolade and previous recipients include Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Atlantic), Gordon “Butch” Stewart (Sandals), Regine Sixt (Sixt), and HRH Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal (Kingdom Holdings).

  • • Jamaican super-sprinter Usain Bolt was voted WTA’s “Face of Travel” for his endorsement of Jamaica’s tourism industry

  • • You’re likely to spot WTA’s famous winner’s shield wherever you are in the world – from billboards inside Manchester City FC’s stadium, to hotel foyers on remote paradise islands.

  • • WTA Founder & President, Graham E. Cooke, spends more than 320 days a year trotting the globe to investigate the latest travel trends.

How does voting work?

WTA’s mission is to drive up standards within the industry and to ensure that brands exceed expectations. It is totally impartial and independent.

The voting process begins each January when travel and tourism organizations across the world are called to nominate themselves for the WTA programme.

Winners in the previous year automatically qualify for the nomination process, as do the two runners up from each category.

The nominations are then vetted and inspected by a group of industry experts.

The judging criteria include:

  1. customer satisfaction and quality of service;
  2. overall business performance;
  3. product innovation;
  4. staff relations and development;
  5. CSR and contribution to local community;
  6. commitment to sustainable policies;
  7. fulfillment of long-term corporate vision

The nominations are made without prejudice to ensure total fairness. The results are announced in March and the voting process then opens.

Votes are made by professionals working within travel and tourism – senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators and travel agents. Since 2009, voting has also been opened to the public to reflect the growing role that WTA plays in influencing how people make their travel purchasing decisions.

The voting works on a first-past-the-post system, and votes are submitted online at WTA’s website.

The winners of each regional category then progress to the Grand Final where they go head-to-head with the winners of the other regional heats.

Need to know more?

WTA's media relations team is on hand to help with all your enquiries:

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7925 0000
Email: [email protected]


Click the following link to download the Media Pack.


English Spanish Portuguese Chinese German French Russian


Follow us

Vote Now

Our other awards

World Golf Awards World Ski Awards World Spa Awards

Global Media Partners