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19th October 2011 - Montego Bay, Jamaica,

The Caribbean’s leading travel brands have walked off with top honours at a VIP gala ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards (WTA) in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 19th October 2011.

VIPs, senior tourism figures, captains of industry and international media travelled from over 30 nations to attend WTA’s Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony 2011 at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island.

Jamaica’s position as a leader in the global tourism arena was strengthened further as it was named “Caribbean’s Leading Destination” for the sixth year running. In a year that has seen visitor arrivals rise 5.7 percent, the paradise island also picked up “Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board” and “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination”.

It was also an evening of travel triumph for countries right across the Caribbean. St Lucia won the coveted title of “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”, whilst Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island was voted “Caribbean Leading Private Island”.

In the “Caribbean’s Leading Resort” category, Casa de Campo (Dominican Republic) saw off stiff competition from the likes of Half Moon (Jamaica), Jumby Bay (Antigua), Four Seasons Resort (Nevis) and Sandy Lane (Barbados). Meanwhile Caribbean Airlines picked up “Caribbean's Leading Airline”.

Graham E. Cooke, President & Founder, World Travel Awards, underlined the remarkable resilience of the Caribbean’s travel and tourism economy despite the challenges of the global recession.

He said: “The Caribbean is a textbook example of how the travel and tourism industry can serve an engine for growth, with the ability to steer the region out of one of the most challenging periods in global financial history.”

“It is during times of economic uncertainty that world-class brands come into their own, continuing to reinvent themselves and grow market share – traits all shared by tonight’s World Travel Award winners.”

“Jamaica in particular has proved its credentials as a world-class tourism brand, thanks to its unrivalled mix of paradise beaches, luxury resorts and warmth of welcome. This is reflected in the number of honours won by Jamaica’s top travel organisation at our Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony,” he added.

Jamaia’s Director of Tourism, John Lynch, said: “We’re honoured to be recognized as the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Destination’. Jamaica is committed to providing travellers with an unparalleled experience. We’ll continue to develop our infrastructure and tourism product to ensure we maintain an edge in an increasingly competitive landscape.”

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, which features a private, offshore island and oozes colonial elegance, forms part of the growing portfolio of properties owned and operated by Sandals Resorts International.

“It is a true testament to our brand, and the team that supports it, to have won the highest number of awards in Sandals Resorts’ history during our 30th anniversary year,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts. “We continue to invest in our product so that each year we can be proud to say we are ‘Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand’. Our number one priority remains to provide the best product and experience for our customers and we look forward to continuing to do so.”

The Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony marked the fifth and final leg of World Travel Awards 2011 Grand Tour, and followed heats in Dubai, UAE; Antalya, Turkey; Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; and Bangkok, Thailand. The regional winners progress to the Grand Final, which takes place in Doha, Qatar on 11th December 2011.

The event partners were the Jamaica Tourist Board, Sandals Resorts, BBC World News and WeClickMedia, while media partners included National Geographic Traveller, ABTA Magazine, ASTA Network, Breaking Travel News, JaxFax and Travel Daily News.

For a full list of winners at WTA 2011 Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony visit:

Caribbean Winners:
Central America Winners:
North America Winners:
South America Winners:

To view all images from the ceremony visit:

For further press information contact Anton Santos:
t: +44 (0)20 7925 0000
e: [email protected]

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

About World Travel Awards

World Travel Awards was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognise excellence in the world's travel and tourism industry.

Now celebrating its 18th anniversary, the awards is regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could ever hope to receive.

Attended by senior executives from major travel companies, operators and destinations, WTA events are universally respected as providing established, top level networking opportunities, regionally and globally.

Main sponsors include Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Jamaica Tourist Board, BBC World News, Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa, Mauritius Tourist Board, Conrad Hotels,, Armani Hotel Dubai, Emaar Hospitality Group, Dusit Thani Bangkok, Sandals Resorts, Savoy Sharm el Sheikh and WeClickMedia.

The World Travel Award's official list of worldwide media partners includes: ABTA Magazine, Breaking Travel News, CNBC Arabiya, Khaleej Times, Trav Talk, Trade Arabia, TTN, Travel Daily News International, Focus on Travel News, ASTA Network, New Focus Travel Magazine, Tourism Review, JAX FAX, Passport Magazine, Travel & Leisure China and National Geographic Traveller.

About the Jamaica Tourist Board

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. The JTB was declared “Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board” by World Travel Awards from 2006 to 2010. Also in 2010, Jamaica earned the WTA’s vote for “World’s Leading Cruise Destination”, “Caribbean’s Leading Destination” and “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination” for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, Montego Bay was named “World’s Leading Beach Destination”, Ocho Rios was named “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port” and Sangster International Airport was voted “Caribbean’s Leading Airport”.

JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Tokyo.

Jamaica, easily accessible via non-stop flights from many major gateway cities, is 146 miles long with mountainous peaks soaring to 7,402 feet (2,256 meters), higher than any in the eastern half of North America. Jamaica features over 120 rivers, stunning waterfalls and white sand beaches. Jamaica’s accommodations range from luxury resorts to charming cottages and inns, all focusing on top-notch service. The destination includes restaurants to fit any taste and price point. A year-round vacation destination, some of Jamaica’s diverse activities include hiking the Blue Mountains, bird-watching, championship golf, award-winning festivals, caving in the Cockpit Country, zip-lining, horseback riding, cliff diving, rainforest bobsledding, deep sea fishing, bicycle tours, dog-sledding, dolphin and shark encounters and more.

For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s web site at, or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422).

Follow the JTB on Facebook at, on Twitter at or on YouTube at .

About Sandals Resorts

Sandals Resorts has earned a worldwide reputation for providing two people in love with the most romantic vacation experience in the Caribbean. Currently, there are 14 Luxury Included® Sandals Resorts located in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia and The Bahamas. Each offers stunning beachfront locations; a choice of à la carte restaurants, from white-glove dining to barefoot elegance; all premium brand wine and spirits, including an exclusive partnership with California's legendary Beringer Vineyards; luxurious accommodations in a range of categories; unrivaled watersports including the Caribbean's largest PADI certification program; Butler Service for truly indulgent pampering; Sandals Weddings by Martha StewartTM; and signature Red Lane® Spas, with services and treatments inspired by the region.

Sandals Resorts has set the industry standard for the Luxury Included® vacation and has been voted “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” at World Travel Awards for 17 years in a row, and “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” for 15 years in a row. For more information, call your local travel agent or 1-800-Sandals (1-800-726-3257) or visit


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