After weeks of previews from various parts of the world, in the form of regional awards under the World Travel Awards label, the top travel brands in the world for the year 2022 were honoured at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2022 held in Muscat, Oman.
The gala celebrations saw stars of the travel and hospitality industries from all over the world gather together to celebrate the welcome return of global tourism and to find out who amongst them had been voted the best in the world.
Amongst the several winners at the event, the grand finale marked a year like no other for Maldives tourism. In its 50th anniversary since first welcoming visitors to its shores, Maldives claimed the ultimate honour of World’s Leading Destination with Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) taking the title of World’s Leading Tourist Board.
The South East Asian nation of Vietnam walked away with five major honours. While its capital region, Hanoi, got the World’s Leading City Break Destination, the resort island of Phu Quoc bagged the World’s Leading Nature Island Destination. Other winners from Vietnam include Tam Đảo that got the World’s Leading Town Destination, Moc Chau got the World’s Leading Regional Nature Destination and the country itself winning the award for World’s Leading Heritage Destination.
Other big destination category winners included Jamaica which took a hat-trick of honours, winning World’s Leading Cruise Destination, World’s Leading Family Destination and the World’s Leading Wedding Destination. According to a press release, the hotly-contested award for World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination went to Saint Lucia, Dubai took the title of World’s Leading Business Travel Destination, Abu Dhabi won World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination and Oman claimed top honours for World’s Leading Nature Destination. Porto in Portugal won the World’s Leading City Destination and the title of World’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination was awarded to Batumi.
The evening marked the climax of the WTA 29th anniversary Grand Tour that is an annual search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world, with the winners of WTA’s regional ceremonies going head-to-head for the coveted World titles.
“It has been an honour to stage our comeback Grand Final here in the magnificent Sultanate of Oman. I would like to personally thank all of the winners tonight. You have been recognised by our global voting audience as the leaders of tourism excellence. I know that your commitment to becoming the very best will in turn serve to drive up standards across the industry and will raise the collective benchmark,” says Graham Cooke, Founder, WTA.
“Having hosted the 26th edition of this prestigious global event with great success, we were pleased to once again invite major players in the tourism industry to visit the Sultanate of Oman and attend the WTA Grand Final Gala Ceremony. Hosting this global event falls within the framework of our role in supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism in placing Oman on the map of major global events. We are confident that the presence of the best travel and tourism companies from around the world, and the accompanying media coverage, will reflect positively on these efforts,” says Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Airports.
In the aviation sector, Qatar Airways capped a memorable year by winning World’s Leading Airline. Emirates bagged a series of awards, taking the titles of World’s Leading Airline Brand as well as World’s Leading Airline to the Middle East, the World’s Leading Inflight Entertainment and also the World’s Leading Airlines Rewards Programme.
Oman Air claimed the awards for World’s Leading Airline – Business Class, World’s Leading Airline Lounge – Business Class, and World’s Leading Airline – Customer Experience. World’s Leading Airline – Economy Class was presented to Etihad Airways which also won the prize for World’s Leading Airline Lounge – First Class. Oman Airports claimed a double honour by taking the awards for World’s Leading Regional Airport 2022 for its Salalah Airport, and World’s Leading Airport – Customer Experience for Muscat International Airport.
Over two dozen hospitality brands and properties were also honoured at the evening, with a bulk of the awards being bagged by the Middle East. The occasion also recognised the achievements of three very individuals who were honoured with special discretionary World Travel Awards. World’s Leading Travel Personality was bestowed upon Hassan Ahdab, President of Hotels Operations, Dur Hospitality Company, Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry was presented to Nana Gecaga, Chief Executive Officer, KICC, and Deepak Ohri, CEO, lebua Hotels & Resorts was given the special honour of World’s Leading Happiness Ambassador.