The finest travel brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean have been unveiled at a star-studded gala ceremony in Durban, South Africa. The elite of the travel industry assembled for the World Travel Awards (WTA) Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2018 at the Durban International Convention Centre to find out who amongst them would be crowned best of the best.
Winners at the red carpet reception included South Africa, voted ‘Africa’s Leading Destination’. Durban, which is enjoying a renaissance thanks to a series of landmark development projects, was named ‘Africa’s Leading City Destination’, whilst Cape Town’s captivating mix of cultures, cuisines and landscapes was acknowledged as it picked up ‘Africa’s Leading Festival & Event Destination’.
In the Indian Ocean categories, Mauritius cemented its reputation as the definitive romantic island by being named ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’, whilst the paradise archipelago of the Maldives was heralded ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination’.
Hundreds of the leading travel industries figureheads from across Africa and the Indian Ocean attended the ceremony at the Durban ICC, the state-of-the-art events and entertainment venue, which was opened by the late Nelson Mandela in 1997.
Graham E. Cooke, Founder & President, WTA, said: “The Durban ICC has reinforced its standing as a world-class entertainment venue on what has been a magnificent evening of travel industry triumph, as well as a highlight of our 25th anniversary. We have had the privilege of recognising the leading hotels, airlines and hospitality providers from across Africa and the Indian Ocean and my congratulations to each of them.”
In the aviation sector, Ethiopian Airlines was voted ‘Africa’s Leading Airline’, whilst Kenya Airlines picked up ‘Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class’ and ‘Africa’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’. ‘Africa’s Leading Airport’ went to Cape Town International Airport. Meanwhile in the Indian Ocean, Air Mauritius claimed a lion’s share of the honours, winning ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’, ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline – Business Class’, ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline Brand’, and ‘Indian Ocean’s Airport Lounge’ (The Amédée Maingard Lounge @ Mauritius International Airport).
Hospitality winners included Hilton Hotels & Resorts (‘Africa’s Leading Hotel Brand), Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa (‘Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel’), Thanda Island, Tanzania (‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Island’), Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort (‘Africa’s Leading New Resort’), Hilton Durban (‘South Africa’s Leading Business Hotel’), Legend Golf Resort & Spa, South Africa (‘Africa’s Leading Sports Resort’), and Transcorp Hilton Abuja (‘Africa’s Leading Business Hotel’).
Other highlights included awards for South Africa Tourism (‘Africa’s Leading Tourist Board’), Durban ICC (‘Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre’), Durban (‘Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination’) and Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Tourist Board’).
The ceremony marked the sixth leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2018 – a series of regional events to acknowledge the world’s outstanding travel brands. Events on the tour include Ras al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates), Athens (Greece), Hong Kong, Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Montego Bay (Jamaica). The regional winners will progress to the Grand Final 2018, which is being hosted in Lisbon (Portugal) on 1st December.