Jamaica came out a big winner in the 2010 World Travel Awards, copping some 18 major awards in the travel and tourism categories.
At the gala ceremony held at the swanky Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa in Westmoreland on Friday (October 22), Jamaica took home honours for being Caribbean Leading Destination; Caribbean Leading Cruise Destination Excursion; Caribbean Leading Airport (Sangster International); Caribbean Leading Meeting and Conference Centre (Jamaica Conference Centre); Leading Hotel (Sandals Negril Beach Resort); Leading Resort (Sandals Whitehouse) and Leading Spa Resort (Half Moon, Montego Bay), among others.
Hundreds of representatives of the travel and tourism industry from the Caribbean, North, Central and South America attended the event, which is known as the Oscars of tourism.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who addressed the gathering, said that Jamaica was proud to be hosting the prestigious awards ceremony for the 17th year, which was testimony to the world class destination that the country had become.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (L) converses with President and Founder of the World Travel Awards, Graham Cooke during the World Travel Awards of the Americas Gala Ceremony 2010 at the Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa in Westmoreland recently.
He said that the accolades and recognition from the World Travel Awards, “speak to the excellence and service quality assurance that an international visitor can expect when selecting a destination or travel brand”.
“It is well known that once a traveller sees the World Travel Awards symbol, they can be assured of the quality and they will know that they are getting the absolute best. It is a renowned badge of service excellence,” he stated.
The Minister credited the achievement to the various stakeholders in the sector, noting that “it is the service quality and a visitor experience that epitomises excellence, which depicts a world class destination and resort. While Jamaica boasts the most diverse and largest number of attractions in the Caribbean, it is the warmth and tenacity of our people that create the winning experience.”
He said that it was this level of service excellence that continues to bring visitors to the island and grow the sector despite the global recession.
“We have seen growth last year of some 3.6 per cent and the first half of this year, up to June.we ended with a record one million stopover arrivals, earning US$1 billion for Jamaica,” he noted.
The World Tourism Awards acknowledge and celebrate those organisations that have made the greatest contribution to the global tourism and travel industry, including those brands that are driving the industry to greater heights and innovation in travel.
The winners are determined by the online votes of thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide.