MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – The Caribbean’s leading travel brands have walked off with top honors at a VIP gala ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards (WTA) in Montego Bay, Jamaica on October 19, 2011.
VIPs, senior tourism figures, captains of industry, and international media traveled from over 30 nations to attend WTA’s Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony 2011 at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island.
Jamaica’s position as a leader in the global tourism arena was strengthened further as it was named “Caribbean’s Leading Destination” for the sixth year running. In a year that has seen visitor arrivals rise 5.7 percent, the paradise island also picked up “Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board” and “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination.”
It was also an evening of travel triumph for countries right across the Caribbean. St Lucia won the coveted title of “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination,” while Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island was voted “Caribbean Leading Private Island.”
In the “Caribbean’s Leading Resort” category, Casa de Campo (Dominican Republic) saw off stiff competition from the likes of Half Moon (Jamaica), Jumby Bay (Antigua), Four Seasons Resort (Nevis), and Sandy Lane (Barbados). Meanwhile Caribbean Airlines picked up “Caribbean’s Leading Airline.”
Graham E. Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, underlined the remarkable resilience of the Caribbean’s travel and tourism economy despite the challenges of the global recession.
He said: “The Caribbean is a textbook example of how the travel and tourism industry can serve an engine for growth, with the ability to steer the region out of one of the most challenging periods in global financial history.
“It is during times of economic uncertainty that world-class brands come into their own, continuing to reinvent themselves and grow market share – traits all shared by tonight’s World Travel Award winners.
“Jamaica in particular has proved its credentials as a world-class tourism brand, thanks to its unrivaled mix of paradise beaches, luxury resorts, and warmth of welcome. This is reflected in the number of honors won by Jamaica’s top travel organization at our Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony.”
Jamaia’s Director of Tourism John Lynch said: “We’re honored to be recognized as the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Destination.’ Jamaica is committed to providing travelers with an unparalleled experience. We’ll continue to develop our infrastructure and tourism product to ensure we maintain an edge in an increasingly competitive landscape.”
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, which features a private, offshore island and oozes colonial elegance, forms part of the growing portfolio of properties owned and operated by Sandals Resorts International.
“It is a true testament to our brand, and the team that supports it, to have won the highest number of awards in Sandals Resorts’ history during our 30th anniversary year,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts, “We continue to invest in our product so that each year we can be proud to say we are ‘Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand.’ Our number one priority remains to provide the best product and experience for our customers and we look forward to continuing to do so.”
The Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony marked the fifth and final leg of World Travel Awards 2011 Grand Tour, and followed heats in Dubai, UAE; Antalya, Turkey; Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; and Bangkok, Thailand. The regional winners progress to the Grand Final, which takes place in Doha, Qatar on December 11, 2011.
The event partners were the Jamaica Tourist Board, Sandals Resorts, BBC World News, and WeClickMedia, while media partners included National Geographic Traveller, ABTA Magazine, ASTA Network, eTurboNews, Breaking Travel News, JaxFax, and Travel Daily News.
For a full list of winners at WTA 2011 Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony visit: www.worldtravelawards.com/winners2011-6