The World Travel Awards (WTA) to the tourism and hospitality industry are what the Oscars are to the performing arts industry. Acknowledging and rewarding excellence to key sectors across the travel world, the WTA is considered the ultimate hallmark of industry eminence since their inception in 1993.
The 24th World Travel Awards Grand Final 2017 was held earlier this month at the stunning JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay in Vietnam and attracted prominent travel glitterati, all eagerly anticipating the winners of the coveted WTA titles.
Now for the interesting bits.
Malaysian carrier AirAsia was awarded the title for the World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline 2017, winning the same award for five consecutive years. The budget carrier whose catchphrase is ‘Now everyone can fly’, was also given the award for the best cabin crew in the low-cost airline category.
“I am very proud to stand here today to receive our fifth WTA World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline award in as many years. I’ve always said we are the world’s true low-cost champion, and I’m thrilled to see I’m not the only one and the industry agrees with me,” says Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer, in a statement to the media.
While AirAsia made its mark as leaders when it comes to affordable travel, it was China’s Hainan Airlines that became the ultimate champion in air travel. The airline won a total of five trophies at the awards ceremony including: World’s Leading Airline Business Class, World’s Leading In-flight Entertainment, World’s Leading Cabin Crew and World’s Leading Excellence Inflight Service. The airline’s business lounge at Beijing International Airport was also announced as a winner for the World’s Leading Airport Lounge – Business.
Not far behind, Singapore Airlines took the bow for being awarded as the World’s Leading Airline, replacing Etihad Airlines who had been the winner in this category since 2009. Retaining its position since 2010, Changi International Airport was once again awarded the title for World’s Leading Airport. Equipped with an indoor butterfly park, world-class dining facilities, ample duty-free shopping outlets and possibly some of the cleanest public toilets you will come across, we’re not surprised why.
Emirates, considered to be the largest carrier in the Middle East, came out tops where travelling in style is concerned and became the recipient of the World’s Leading Airline – First Class award whereas Oman Air bagged the honour of receiving the World’s Ultimate Service Award in hospitality.
For those of you enjoy luxury travel, Thomas Cook has been recognised as the World’s Leading Charter Airline, while those of you who travel for reward points ought to stick to Emirates’ Skywards programme all the way.
If you’re looking for ideas for your next vacay, Portugal got awarded as the World’s Leading Destination and its capital city Lisbon got voted as the World’s Leading City Break Destination. We reckon it’s all thanks to the country’s blue skies, crisp Mediterranean weather, sparkling oceans and chilled glasses of white wine.
In case you’re wondering, the winners of the WTA are voted for via an online selection process involving travel professionals and enthusiasts who assess the award nominees based on several factors such as quality and level of service.
A full list of the winners from the WTA 2017 Grand Final can be seen here.