London has been voted the World’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards for the fifth time, following a rise in international visitors to the capital this year.
The British capital once more beat off competition from the likes of New York, Cape Town, Abu Dhabi and Sydney to the title, which is seen as one of the most prestigious in the worldwide travel industry.
Sally Chatterjee, chief executive of Visit London, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that London has been recognised for such a prestigious award. With the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games just around the corner, it’s now more apparent than ever how important tourism is to the capital and the country’s economic growth.”
London’s accolade follows news last month that Britain is the fourth most admired country in the world, falling only behind the USA, Germany and France.
Hotel group winners
The awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane on Sunday, also honoured a number of hotel groups with sites in the UK.
InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, which is set to open its second British hotel next year in Westminster, London, was named the World’s Leading Hotel Brand, while JW Marriott was named the Leading Business Hotel Group.
Holiday Inn Express picked up the Leading Budget Hotel Brand award, and von Essen, which operates 28 luxury hotels in the UK plus one near Lyon in France, was given the Leading Boutique Hotel Group Award. Picking up the World’s Excellence in Service award was Ritz Carlton.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts was recognised as having the Leading Hotel Loyalty Programme with its Preferred Guest scheme, while Welcome to Yorkshire was highlighted for having the World’s Leading Marketing Campaign.
Graham Cooke, president and founder of the WTAs, which is now in its 17th year, said the award winners were “spearheading” the worldwide recovery of travel and tourism.
“This year, like the last, continues to challenge every strata of travel and tourism,” he said. “However, the WTA winners see struggle not as sign of weakness or failure, but as an opportunity for growth and renewal, and a chance to put their business model through the ultimate test.
“By combining flair and ambition with savvy business acumen, these organisations… are reinforcing our industry’s role as one of the mainstays of the global economy.”
This year’s WTA nominations featured 5,000 companies in 1,000 categories across 162 countries. The winners were voted for online by thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide.