After a year of holding regional pageants that crowned the best hotels, airlines, resorts and destinations around the world, Singapore Airlines, Portugal and Bolivia emerged as some of the big winners, at the grand finale of a gala event that bills itself as the Oscars of the travel world.
At the 24th edition of the World Travel Awards, which were held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay hotel in Vietnam this past weekend, the equivalent of best film, and best actor awards were handed out to grand finale winners.
According to the travel professionals and consumers who cast votes throughout the year, Portugal was the stand-out destination of 2017, taking the title of world’s leading destination.
Likewise, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon was also named the world’s leading city break destination of the year.
Travelers who prioritise destinations based on their cultural offerings may want to look into Bolivia, which took the title of leading cultural destination for hosting colorful parades and festivals nearly every month.
Meanwhile, the results also reveal a few curious winners. In the category of leading beach destination, the Galapagos Islands – an ecologically fragile and vulnerable destination – was named the winner, while Machu Picchu, which has also been struggling with over-tourism and degradation, was named the world’s leading tourist attraction.
Winners of the World Travel Awards are based on a year-long online voting campaign. Votes from the public carry a weighting of one, while votes cast by travel professionals carry a weighting of two.
Finalists for the grand finale are made of up winners from the regional awards, and are approved by the WTA.
Need some holiday inspiration? Here are a few of the big winners from the night:
World’s leading airline: Singapore Airlines
Leading airport: Changi Airport, Singapore
Leading beach destination: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Leading boutique hotel: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, South Africa
Leading casino resort: Wynn Las Vegas, Nevada
Leading cruise line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Leading design hotel: Armani Hotel Dubai, UAE
Leading fine dining hotel restaurant: La Maison 1888, InterContinental Danang
Leading island destination: Madeira Islands
Leading low-cost airline: AirAsia
Leading luxury hotel: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai
Leading luxury new resort: The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Leading safari destination: Kenya
Leading theme park resort: Universal Orlando Resort, Florida
Leading tourist attraction: Machu Picchu, Peru
Leading wedding destination: Jamaica
Leading culture city destination: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Leading culinary destination: Peru
Most romantic resort: Baros Maldives – AFP Relaxnews