ST JOHN’S, Antigua — Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Sandals Resorts International, Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines were among the top tourism industry stakeholders to emerge victorious from the World Travel Awards Caribbean & North American Gala Ceremony on Saturday evening. The event welcomed guests from across the region.
Joining guests of honour were Antigua and Barbuda Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack and Prime Minister Dr Baldwin Spencer and at the event were government ministers, chairmen, and presidents from the region’s premier travel companies. In all, nearly 400 top hospitality industry insiders were in attendance.
World Travel Awards celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade, celebrating those companies, organisations and brands that are pushing the boundaries of industry excellence in product and service. The Gala Ceremony had a line-up of stars, from co-hosts Walt Wiley and Samoya Kirby, to legendary band The Burning Flames, as well as the sensational Passion de Dance entertaining the guests.
“Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa is honored to open its doors to the World Travel Awards for this distinguished occasion,” said Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, chairman, Sandals Resorts International. “It is our pleasure and sincere privilege to extend Sandals’ rich tradition of hospitality to our fellow leaders of the travel industry and invite all to enjoy our beautiful beachfront setting and all the amenities this wonderful resort has to offer.”
In the North America section of the event Las Vegas was the big winner, taking the title of North America’s Leading Destination. The title of North America’s Leading Airline went to American Airlines, while the trophy for North America’s Leading Hotel Brand went to Marriott Hotels & Resorts. Voters from around the world also selected a resurgent New Orleans as North America’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination and South Beach Miami as North America’s Leading Beach Destination.
Headline Caribbean Awards winners included Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos, which took the title of Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination, while Jamaica walked away with the title of Caribbean’s Leading Destination. Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand once again went to Sandals Resorts International; Caribbean’s Leading Boutique Hotel went to Hermitage Bay, Antigua; and Caribbean’s Leading Golf Resort went to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile industry leader Caribbean Airlines took the title of Caribbean’s Leading Airline.
Special praise was also heaped on hosts Antigua and Barbuda, which walked away with the coveted title of Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination.
Graham Cooke, president and founder, World Travel Awards said: “The Caribbean and North America are fiercely contested regions for our World Travel Awards, and these Award winners continue to serve as an example of the most luxurious and innovative brands with unique hospitality products and services. Tonight’s recipients strive to set the highest possible bar to raise the standards of excellence in travel and tourism and it has been an honour to hold our ceremony here in Antigua.”