January 12th, 2012
World Travel Awards (WTA) capped its year-long search for the world's most successful travel and tourism brands with its glittering Grand Final Gala Ceremony in Doha, Qatar on 11 January 2012. Hailed as the "Oscars of the travel industry" by the Wall Street Journal, WTA is recognized worldwide as the ultimate travel accolade.
So, South Africa has a lot to boast about once again this year as we walked away with no less than seven awards.
Local lodges and game parks seem to have made quite an impression as Shamwari Game Reserve, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Thanda Private Game Reserve all managed to scoop up an award or two. Shamwari was named the "World's Leading Conservation Company" as well as the "World's Leading Safari and Game Reserve" for 2011. Sanbona received the award for the "World's Leading Eco Lodge" with their Dwyka Tented Lodge and Thanda Private Game Reserve has been named the World's Leading Luxury Lodge.
Each of these reserves were up against tough competition from diverse locations including Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana and New Zealand's Huka Lodge (both in the Luxury Lodge category), Conservation International, Virginia USA (in the Leading Conservation Company category) and Morgan's Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge in Nicaragua (in the eco lodge category).
Furthermore, South Africa managed to beat Abu Dhabi, Australia and Brazil (among others) to the award of World's Leading Sports Tourism Destination for 2011. Finally, The Regent hotel in Johannesburg became the World's Leading Residential Apartments and the Saxon Boutique Spa and Hotel was named the top boutique hotel.
The most sought-after award, "World's Leading Destination," sadly passed Cape Town by and landed in the well-deserving hands of India. Other nominees in this category included Istanbul, Las Vegas, Dubai, Jamaica and New York.
The UAE's Etihad Airways won the award for World's Leading Airline for the third year in a row, beating British Airways, Lufthansa and KLM, among others, to it.
Other awards of interest:
World's leading airport - Singapore Shangi Airport
World's leading business car rental company - Avis
World's Leading car hire - Europcar
World's Leading Dive Destination - Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
World's Leading Island Destination - Mauritius
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