Portugal Blows the World Travel Awards Out of the Wate with 39 Awards

8 July 2019 - South EU Summit

Portugal swept up at the World Travel Awards, hosted in Madeira, clocking in with a total of 39 awards – an increase of three from last year’s total.

This year, Portugal received the Best European Tourist Destination for the third year running. Also included were prizes for several hotel categories such as Best Business, Design, Luxury, All-inclusive, and Romantic hotels. Portuguese airline TAP was voted Europe’s leading airline to South America and Africa.

Algarve beach won a total of five different awards, including Best Europe Beach Destination, a prize it won five times before in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Local resort Quinta do Lago was considered the Best Beach Resort in Europe, while the Conrad Hotel won Best European Luxury Lifestyle Resort; Vila Vita Parc in Lagoa is once again the Best Luxury Hotel & Villas in Europe, and the Dunas Douradas Beach Club has been chosen Best European Villas Resort in 2019.

The city of Lisbon won the title of Europe’s Best City Break Destination and Best Cruise Port, while neighbouring Madrid was named “Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination”.

Madeira also retained its title as Europe’s Leading Island Destination. Nicknamed the “island of eternal spring” due to its subtropical climate, the north Atlantic island of Madeira is popular year-round, with nearly 1.5 million tourists visiting annually.

Paula Cabaço, Regional Secretary for Tourism and Culture, Madeira, said that they’ve worked hard to put the island on the map for European tourism. “We could not be happier with this distinction. Receiving this prize, at home, the first time we host the WTA Europe Gala Ceremony, has an even more special flavour.”

The Passadiços do Paiva walkway, a stretch of wooden walkways along the bank of the Paiva River, won the Best Tourism Development Project award. The untouched landscape is recognised by UNESCO as a Geological Heritage of Humanity. Dark Sky Alqueva, a nature reserve, received the European Prize for Responsible Tourism.

The World Travel Awards is a yearly gala event founded in 1993 and run by World Media And Events Limited; considered the “tourism Oscars”. During the awards, an international jury of hospitality leaders, mainly from the World Travel and Tourism Council, decided on awards presented to hotels and other hospitality companies, on both global and regional levels in categories such as hotel, airline, and destination. It’s widely recognised as the ultimate hallmark of excellence, and their gala events are routinely attended by government and industry leaders.

The most recent gala in Madeira was the fourth leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2019. Other regional events this year were held in Montego Bay (Jamaica), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Mauritius, La Paz (Bolivia), and Phu Quoc (Vietnam). The Grand Finale will be held later this year with the winners in Muscat, Oman.

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa spoke after the event, saying that he “welcomes the election of Portugal as Best European Tourist Destination”, and believes it is “an opportunity to further enhance” other aspects of national tourism, such as nature conservation or social cohesion.

“The President of the Republic celebrates the election of Portugal as the best European tourist destination for the third consecutive year and for obtaining 39 awards in the World Travel Awards”, President de Sousa said in a message published on his official Presidency page.

“This good news for Portuguese and for the tourism sector should also be an opportunity to better value the environment and nature conservation, social cohesion and land use, culture and heritage and all values of authenticity of the national identity”, he added.

Graham E. Cooke, the founder of the World Travel Awards, said, “Our inaugural ceremony in Madeira has proved an incredible success. We have had the privilege of recognising the leading destinations, hotels, resorts, airlines and travel providers from across Europe, and my congratulations to each of our winners.”

Source: South EU Summit

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