World Travel Awards Grand Final winners unveiled

8 November 2009 - London

Virgin Atlantic Airways, Visa, India Tourism, TUI Travel and Silversea Cruises were amongst companies who triumphed during the World Travel Awards Grand Final that was staged at the five-star Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London's Mayfair on November 8th.

The awards, described by the Wall Street Journal as the 'Oscars' of the global travel and tourism industry, revealed who are the 'best of the best' in the world. The Grand Final ceremony concludes the 2009 regional tour which has taken the World Travel Awards to Dubai, South Africa, Mexico and Portugal, celebrating the achievements of the leading lights of the travel and tourism industry.

World winners included: Etihad Airways, World's Leading Airline; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, World's Leading Hotel Brand; London, England, World's Leading Destination; Dnata, World's Leading Travel Management Company and Regency Travel and Tours, Qatar, World's Leading Travel Agency.

A number of technology awards were also presented on the night: won World's Leading Travel Booking Website award and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts scooped World's Leading Hotel Brand Website award.

The full list of winners for the World Travel Awards can be found by logging on to

Increasingly, the awards are known as raising the bar for ultimate customer service and overall business performance. Growing numbers of travel companies, airlines, operators and resorts compete to walk away with one of the coveted titles. According to the organisers, research has shown that winning a World Travel Award increases international brand recognition, building consumer loyalty.

Over 1000 travel companies were nominated in 94 World categories and 14 Travel Technology categories in the Grand Final ceremony.

Nearly 1000 senior management and decision makers from the world's travel and tourism industry came together to celebrate their achievements at this star-studded event. Some of the thought leaders who were present included: Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President, WTTC; Kumari Selja, Minister of Tourism, India; Steve Ridgway, CEO, Virgin Atlantic Airways; Hon. Ed Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board; His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways.

Also in attendance was Shane O'Hare, President & CEO, Royal Jet Group; Lindiwe Mahlangu, CEO, Johannesburg Tourism Company; Paul White, President & CEO, Orient-Express Hotels; Clive Jacobs, Chairman, TW Group; Fiona Jefferey, Chairman, WTM & Chairman & Founder, Just a Drop; Nigel Turner, CEO, FlyBMI; Antonio Pedro F. de Mello, Secretary of Tourism, State of Rio de Janeiro and Ahmed Abdulla M. Al Muaimi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority.

There were also 120 Miss World 2009 finalists present, supporting their respective destinations.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards commented: "The past 12 months have brought several challenges, namely the economic downturn and the outbreak of swine flu, which has impacted travel and tourism worldwide; today's winners have not only been recognised as the best in their region, but they have proved themselves to be the best in the World and the number one choice of travel professionals and consumers alike." He added: "They have remained focused on their long term objectives, and continued to deliver above and beyond the call of duty, setting an industry example."

Throughout the evening, winners were presented with their prestigious awards by key industry figures, with live entertainment which included performances from Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson, international comedian and actor Bobby Davro and British Socialite Tamara Beckwith.
These inspirational organisations will continue to reap profile and commercial benefits in 2010.

Cooke explained: "This year's World winners can display the official World Travel Awards symbol with pride on their sales and marketing literature, offering travellers a cast-iron assurance that what they are buying is a guarantee of travel excellence."

Just a Drop was the official charity for the evening and guests were invited to make a donation to this important charity that helps provide clean and safe water where it is urgently needed.

Worldwide travel and tourism companies have partnered with the prestigious World Travel Awards including: Mexicana, Safar Travel & Tourism and Illusions. Media partners include: BBC World News, Travel Daily News, Publituris, Xenios, Breaking Travel News and Travel World News.

The World Travel Awards Grand Final, which took place on the eve World Travel Market, concludes the World Travel Awards Grand Tour for 2009. The dates and venues for World Travel Awards 2010 ceremonies will be announced shortly.

Grand Final Gallery


Notes to Editors

About World Travel Awards

* The World Travel Awards were launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the world's travel and tourism industry.
* Now celebrating its 16th Anniversary, the awards are 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.

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About Just A Drop

Polluted water is the world's biggest killer of children under five. Just a Drop raises money to build wells, install hand pumps and carry out health and sanitation programmes to give them and their families clean, accessible water.

This means children are well enough to go to school, mothers needn't trek miles in search for clean water, and fathers are healthy enough to work. The cycle of sickness and poverty is broken and the future is immediately brighter.

Log on to for more information


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