The Awards Ceremony was run in association with Travel Channel and presented by well-known TV presenter, Jenny Powell.
LONDON – WTM 2013 – REPORT: World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, and Amadeus are delighted to announce the overall winners for the inaugural Amadeus & WTM Travel Experience Awards, recognising the top tourist boards and travel providers who are delivering the best in 21st Century Travel Experiences.
WTM offered the perfect global stage for the winners as they were announced in a packed Travel Tech Theatre today during the Amadeus & WTM Travel Experience Awards.
The Best Destination for Accessible Travel has been awarded to Visit Flanders, chosen for its “Great War Centenary” initiative which will put Flanders in the international spotlight for four years with a wide range of activities commemorating the First World War. Making the Flanders Fields accessible for all (particularly as many visitors will be disabled themselves) has been at the core of the project. Great attention to detail was demonstrated in all aspects of a traveller’s visit.
Tongabezi Lodge has been named the overall winner for the Adrenaline Junkies category. The Lodge offers its guests a range of truly exhilarating activities in spectacular surroundings, such as white water rafting down the Zambezi, taking a micro light flight over Victoria Falls, riding on elephants, gorge swinging and bungee jumping.
The best in Authentic Travel was awarded to Wilderness Safaris for Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia for its commitment to black rhino preservation and its strong partnership with the Save The Rhino Trust. It offers the traveller complete immersion in this success story of African conservation with rhino tracking on foot or by vehicle, full-day outings with a picnic lunch, birding and nature drives. Wilderness Safaris have also engaged the local community into their efforts to ensure these magnificent animals keep thriving.
The “once in a lifetime” award for the Blow the Budget category was presented to Quark Expeditions which offer travellers the chance to explore Antarctica or the Arctic through its “Polar Adventures” – something very few people will do in their lifetime. Tourists have the opportunity to travel on one of Quark’s luxury adventure ships and are led by Quark’s world-renowned team of polar experts, who will introduce them to the most amazing wildlife and landscapes.
The overall winner in the City Break on a Budget category was awarded to Turismo di Lisboa. When considering the cost of meals, drinks, sightseeing, travel and accommodation, Lisbon comes in at less than half of other Eurozone cities. There is plenty on offer for the traveller on a budget with easy in-city travel, plenty of culture, grand monuments, nearby beaches and many free attractions.
The best Cruise Destination was bestowed upon Jamaica Tourist Board, located on the western Caribbean’s main shipping route, boasting popular cruise ports in tourist hotspots. Falmouth on Jamaica’s North Coast opened as a newly constructed shipping port, which has been built to impressively house two mega liners to berth simultaneously. Jamaica’s ports offer a wide variety of attractions to visitors, ensuring there will be something to suit all tastes. A Highly Commended mention was also given to Liguria for Genoa, for the complete redevelopment of its Porto Antico, led by Shard architect Renzo Piano.
The Sarojin in Khao Lok, Thailand has been award the best Honeymoon destination, with the resort offering everything a honeymoon couple could want. For honeymooners who want to relax the resort offers an award-winning spa and no children under 10. For those who want a bit of adventure, there are jungle walks, mountain bike trails, elephant trekking, fishing and climbing to name a few and the piece de resistance, a private dinner beneath a candlelit jungle waterfall.
The location that offered the most unique view in the Room With A View was awarded to The Aurora Zone. Situated on Lake Inari, one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, the Aurora Bubbles form a cluster of transparent, bubble-shaped pods in the Finnish wilderness surrounded by spectacular winter scenery, snow-laden forests and rugged fells. The bedrooms are big enough to take a double bed which means you can lie in bed watching the amazing Northern Lights dancing overhead through the specially designed north facing window. Everything has been designed around the view.
The best Stress-Free Family Holiday as voted for by our panel of judges was Beaches Fort Myers & Sanibel for Pink Shell Beach Resort in Florida which has everything geared up to keep the kids entertained (Kidds Kamp) and the parents relaxed (a spa) whilst offering great opportunities for family time together (best shelling in the world). A special mention was also given to Visit Guernsey which offers a more traditional holiday close to nature and focuses on family time together.
Hong Kong Tourist Board have been awarded the most memorable destination, which business travellers can enjoy with only two hours to spare due to its size and excellent transport systems with many iconic sights and activities in close proximity. The award Two Hours to Spare on a Business Trip highlighted Hong Kong’s cultural activities, such as Tai Chi and Chinese tea appreciation classes as ideal things to do in two hours.
The core judging panel included Micaela Juarez Head of Marketing and Communications WTM, Rob Sinclair-Barnes Director of Marketing Amadeus UK & Ireland, Trevor Harding President Institute of Travel & Tourism and Lee Hayhurst, Editor Travolution, along with expert judges for each individual category.
Each winner will have the choice of hosting a press visit by the WTM official video crew, who will create a vlog (video blog) for use on the WTM website, social media and via WTM Official Media Partners.
The Travel Tech Show at WTM Head of Marketing and Communications Micaela Juarez said: “We were delighted to be able to distinguish the winners of the best in 21st Century Travel Experiences and hope that all the winners are delighted with their achievement.
“The quality of entries was extremely high and we had an overwhelming response from the industry, making the judging very hard indeed. The Amadeus & WTM Travel Experience Awards are definitely something we will hope to continue in the future years to highlight and reward the providers of evolving travel experiences which fulfil the demands of the 21st century traveller.”
Amadeus Director of Marketing, Rob Sinclair-Barnes said: “The Amadeus and WTM collaboration has worked incredibly well throughout the year. These inaugural Awards have recognised the best-in-class travel suppliers who are defining and evolving the new standards for the travel industry to better service and deliver the 21st Century Travel Experience.”
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.