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Portugal shines bright at the World Travel Awards
Portugal shone brightly and scooped a number of awards at this year’s World Travel Awards – Europe Ceremony 2012, which was held at the brand new Conrad Algarve in Vilamoura last Saturday, 6 October.
VIPs, senior tourism figures and international media travelled from 35 different countries to attend the event, which was held in partnership with Conrad Algarve and the Algarve Tourism Board.
Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the tourism industry the WTAs were launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry.
The event this year celebrated its 19th anniversary and is now widely regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could hope to receive.
Portugal reigned supreme with the Algarve alone winning seven of the eight categories it was nominated for, including ‘Best European Beach Destination’.
The Algarve’s exclusive Vila Joya hotel (Albufeira) again conquered the title of ‘Leading European Boutique Hotel’, for the fourth consecutive year, while the Dunas Douradas Beach Club (Almancil) and Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel (Sagres) were also distinguished with the title of ‘Best Housing Complex’ and best ‘Villa Resort’, respectively.
‘Best European Conference Hotel’ went to the Ria Park Hotel & Spa (Almancil), while the Sheraton Algarve Hotel & Pine Cliffs Resort scooped ‘Best Family Resort’.
Le Meridien Penina was considered Europe’s ‘Best Golf Resort’ as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Resort’, with the Hilton Vilamoura taking ‘Best European Hotel’.
The event’s host, the Conrad Algarve, was also distinguished as the ‘Best New Luxury Resort’.
Porches’ Blu & Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort took the title of Europe’s ‘Best Spa Resort’.
The only hotel outside the Algarve to take a prize during Saturday’s glittering ceremony was the Bairro Alto Hotel, in Lisbon, which was voted Portugal’s ‘Best Boutique Hotel’.
Graham E. Cooke, president and founder of the WTA underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across Europe.
“During times of economic austerity world-class brands come into their own, and the winners at our Europe Ceremony represent the cream of the continent. These organisations will undoubtedly fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on 12th December 2012”, he said.
Mr. Cooke added: “The ceremony has also served as a fitting spotlight for the Algarve, reflecting the vital role of tourism in the region and its overall contribution to the Portuguese economy. The Algarve is also one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, and the new Conrad Algarve has set a new precedent for luxury.”
Cristopher Frost, WTA vice president told journalists that the awards are proof that the Algarve is “an excellent market” and that tourists continue to visit the region, particularly those seeking luxury resorts, who are unaffected by the crisis.
Joachim Hartl, manager of the Conrad Algarve congratulated “all who were successful” on the evening and said: “As the latest luxury hotel to open in the Algarve we are proud to host Europe’s tourism elite during the awards and to showcase our exquisite property. By focusing on the individual, Conrad Algarve offers guests style and exceptional service in the alluring Algarve region of Portugal – a must-visit destination for those seeking a sophisticated, modern retreat.”
António Pina, President, Algarve Promotion Bureau & Algarve Tourism Board also stressed: “It was with enormous pride that Algarve hosted such a prestigious event as World Travel Awards. This was a unique opportunity to promote the region as a first-class destination, with exceptional facilities and an enviable climate like no other country in Europe. We are delighted and grateful to the organization to have chosen Algarve for such a memorable event.”
WTA’s Europe Ceremony 2012 marked the third leg of WTA’s Grand Tour, a global search for the world’s leading travel brands, which also includes regional heats in Dubai, Singapore and Turks & Caicos.
The winners of these legs will then go head-to-head at WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, New Delhi, India on 12 December 2012.
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