On Saturday (12 December), the World Travel Awards 2015 were held at the Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort in El Jadida, Morocco and Kenya came out top in a number of categories.
Kenya was voted the World’s Leading Safari Destination for the second time (the first being 2013), fighting off competition from South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Kenya was also nominated for the World’s Leading Beach Destination, World’s Leading Green Destination, World’s Leading Tourist Board, Africa’s Leading Destination and Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination awards.
Kenyan tour company Twiga Tours also scooped the World’s Leading Luxury Safari Company and World’s Responsible Tourism awards.
Twiga Tours were also nominated for Africa’s Leading Safari Company and Kenya’s Inbound Tour Operator.
Twiga Tours Chief Executive Officer Minaz Manji said his firm bagged the world’s leading luxury safari company because it offered tourists the best safari experience.
He also said his company was recognised for the world’s responsible tourism award because it supports the education of children in the tourist circuits of Maasai Mara and Samburu.
In the continental category, the Kenya Tourism Board won Africa’s leading tourist board award.
Kenya Tourism Board’s (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa was delighted with the victory, saying the country deserved to be recognised for the world’s best safari destination award since it offers authentic experiences.
“Our country scooped the global award due to the diverse flora and fauna found in our national parks and game reserves. All parks and game reserves across the country have their own uniqueness in terms of the wildlife, giving international visitors different experiences.”
– Muriithi Ndegwa, Managing Director, KTB
Mr Ndegwa also said the board would capitalise on the awards to market Kenya around the world in a bid to woo back more international tourists.
Also in the Africa awards, Kenya Airways was voted Africa’s leading airline in business class, while the Port of Mombasa was named Africa’s leading cruise port.
The Maasai Mara world famous game reserve clinched the title of Africa’s leading national park award while Finch Hattons won the award for Africa’s leading safari lodge.
Diani walked away with Africa’s leading beach destination award, and its Reef Beach Resort & Spa was voted Africa’s leading Spa Resort.
Olanana Sanctuary won the Africa’s leading eco-lodge award while Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps won the leading tented safari camp award.
In the Kenya specific category awards, Diani Reef Beach Resort was voted the leading beach resort, InterContinental Nairobi won the leading business hotel award, Nairobi Serena Hotel was named the leading hotel, while Kempinski Hotels clinched the leading hotel brand award.
Kinondo Kwetu was voted the leading resort award, Enashipai was the winner in the leading spa resort category, Fly540 was voted the leading domestic safari carrier while Presidential Suite @ Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi was named the leading hotel suite.
Palacina The Residence & The Suites was the winner in the leading hotel residences contest, Porini Camps received the leading safari camp brand award, Encounter Mara was named the leading tented safari camp and Avis Kenya the leading car rental company award.
Both the leading travel management company and travel agency awards were won by Carlson Wagonlit Travel while Hemingways Expeditions scooped the leading inbound tour operator award.
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel and tourism industry is a globally recognised brand considered the ultimate hallmark of quality with winners setting the benchmark for others to achieve.
The WTA awards are dubbed: “The Oscars of the travel and tourism industry”.
In 2014, over 650,000 individual votes were cast by travel professionals and high-end tourism consumers and the grand final gala ceremony is an key event in the industry’s calendar.
It is attended by major decision makers in the travel and tourism industry, chief figure heads as well as leading trade media.