The finest travel brands in Europe have been unveiled at a star-studded gala ceremony in Madeira. The elite of the travel industry assembled for the World Travel Awards (WTA) Europe Gala Ceremony on the breathtaking Atlantic island to find out who amongst them would be crowned best of the best.
Winners at the red carpet reception included the enchanting city of St. Petersburg, Russia, voted ‘Europe’s Leading City Destination’. Meanwhile Portugal reinforced its credentials as the country for everyone by emerging as ‘Europe’s Leading Destination’. Madrid was named ‘Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination’, whilst the captivating mix of Belle Époque meets contemporary splendour helped Batumi, Georgia, lift the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination’.
Hundreds of the leading travel industries figureheads from across the continent attended the ceremony at Belmond Reid’s Palace, the historic hideaway, set in verdant gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Graham E. Cooke, Founder, WTA, said: “Our inaugural ceremony in Madeira has proved an incredible success. We have had the privilege of recognising the leading destinations, hotels, resorts, airlines and travel providers from across Europe and my congratulations to each of our winners.”
Madeira also made it onto the winner’s podium after picking up ‘Europe’s Leading Island Destination’. Commenting on the victory, Paula Cabaço, Regional Secretary for Tourism and Culture, Madeira, said: “We could not be happier with this distinction. Receiving this prize, at home, the first time we host the WTA Europe Gala Ceremony, has an even more special flavour. This is the result of the work we have carried out to bring Madeira to the European market. There is no doubt that we are the best island in Europe and with this campaign we leave the doors open for everyone to come and see and live Madeira!”
In the aviation sector, Aeroflot – Russian Airlines was named ‘Europe’s Leading Airline Brand’, Turkish Airlines scooped ‘Europe’s Leading Airline’, Swiss International Air Lines voted ‘Europe’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ whilst TAP Air Portugal collected both ‘Europe’s Leading Airline to Africa’ and ‘Europe’s Leading Airline to South America’. Zurich Airport picked up ‘Europe’s Leading Airport’.
Hospitality winners included Hilton Hotels & Resorts, voted ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel Brand’ in this its centenary year, and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, winner of ‘Europe’s Leading Business Hotel Brand’. In the newcomer categories, InterContinental Sofia, Bulgaria was named ‘Europe’s Leading New Hotel’ and L’oscar Hotel London voted ‘Europe’s Leading New Boutique Hotel’. Other winners included San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice (‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort’), Pestana Porto Santo All Inclusive Beach & Spa Resort, Portugal (‘Europe’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort’).
Other winners included Venice Simplon Orient-Express (‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Train’), Turismo de Portugal (‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Board’) and The Algarve (‘Europe’s Leading Beach Destination’).
The ceremony concluded with a magnificent firework display to mark the opening of the Atlantic Festival, a series of events during Madeira’s summer season.
The VIP ceremony marked the fourth leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2019 – a search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world. Other 2019 regional ceremonies include Montego Bay (Jamaica), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Mauritius, La Paz (Bolivia), Phu Quoc (Vietnam), with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Muscat (Oman).