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“Travel Oscars” make Middle East debut

May 2007 - Abu Dhabi/United Arab Emirates

The World Travel Awards (WTA), the most prestigious awards ceremony in the travel industry calendar today, are making their debut in the Middle East with their first ever regional event on May 30th 2007 at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

This is when 1,000 of the region's travel industry elite celebrate their achievements for the World Travel Awards in the Middle East and Africa's regional and country categories.

The regional winners and top nominees of this month's event will be put forward for their respective global categories, which will be announced at the end of 2007 during the star studded gala event. The global awards ceremony will once again take place on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

The WTA has added satellite award ceremonies to recognise winners in their own territory. The other chosen locations include Bangkok in Thailand, New York in the US and Newcastle Gateshead in England.

"Abu Dhabi is spearheading the globe when it comes to luxury travel, world-class service and innovative tourism products. Their offerings are setting the benchmark for the industry worldwide, so it is fitting that we will host our inaugural regional ceremony here," says Graham Cooke, President of the World Travel Awards.

"Last year, Middle East companies featured highly taking home 14 global level World Travel Awards. So this event carries more significance as it sets the tone for our worldwide event in the Turks and Caicos later this year."

The glamorous event will provide an unparalleled networking forum with world-class performances setting the stage from celebrities including actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, famous for her role of Meadow Soprano on the hit HBO series "The Sopranos", Chris Noth, best known for his role as Mr. Big in "Sex and the City", and Lauren Holly, who appeared in the movie classics "Dumb and Dumber" and "What Women Want".

As the official WTA media partner, BBC World will broadcast the big event to over 254 million homes in over 200 countries. Other confirmed media include Breaking Travel News, Condé Nast, Harald Tribune, Khaleej Times, Gulf News, TTN, Hotel Executive, Emirates Today, Ahlan!, Travtalk ME, Al Bayan, Arabian Travel News, Jumeirah Beach Magazine and Shawati' Magazine. Major travel industry sponsors are backing the awards, including Nakheel, Etihad Airways, Amadeus, Fortune Cookie and the Emirates Palace.

Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the "Travel industry's equivalent to the Oscars", the World Travel Awards are the most comprehensive and most prestigious awards program in the global travel industry.

Last year saw the phenomenal success of the WTA annual gala ceremony in Turks & Caicos. This is when global heads of industry rubbed shoulders with VIPs from over 25 countries, ranging from the Maldives to Jamaica and Australia.

In other recent developments, the World Travel Awards have unveiled a new website and corporate image and have introduced Green Categories to their prestigious award scheme, to reward those companies who excel in ecologically friendly practices.

Notes to editors

The World Travel Awards were conceived in 1993 to acknowledge and celebrate excellence in the world's travel and tourism industry. Now in their fourteenth year, travel professionals and discerning travellers have come to regard the World Travel Awards as the very best endorsement that a travel product could hope to receive.

With thousands of votes cast by travel professionals from 167,000 travel agencies, tour & transport companies and tourism organisations in over 200 countries across the globe, winning a World Travel Award has become one of the highest accolades a travel product or organisation can achieve.

World Travel Awards are especially coveted as, uniquely, the votes are cast globally by fellow professionals. With trophies awarded in over 1,000 different categories, the World Travel Awards are undoubtedly the world's most comprehensive awards celebration.

Attended by top executives of winning companies, the World Travel Awards events are highly regarded and well established as a forum that brings together all areas of travel and tourism in recognition of their achievements.

The winners of the World Travel Awards represent the crème de la crème of the global travel industry, be it a destination, train, luxury hotel, resort, airline, airports, cruise line or a safari lodge. In a recent survey, the attendees of the latest event in the Turks & Caicos Islands were from over 25 countries, from Maldives to New Zealand, from South Africa to England and 70 percent of those were decision-makers (Directors and above), Heads of Tourism bodies (Ministers and Directors of Tourism) and business owners.

For more information contact Nadine Wenn at [email protected] or call +44 207 925 0000


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