WTA AFRICA AND INDIAN OCEAN 2019 WINNERS 0 921

The finest travel brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean have been unveiled at a star-studded gala ceremony in Mauritius. The elite of the travel industry assembled for the World Travel Awards (WTA) Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony at Sugar Beach – A Sun Resort to find out who amongst them would be crowned best of the best.

Winners at the red carpet reception included Kenya, home to some of the world’s greatest tourist attractions, was voted ‘Africa’s Leading Destination’. Meanwhile the lush forests, wild waterfalls, unique wildlife and paradise beaches of Mauritius helped it lift the title of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination’, as well as the new category of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination’. Hundreds of the leading travel industries figureheads from across Africa and the Indian Ocean attended the ceremony at Sugar Beach – A Sun Resort, which borders the vast sands of Flic-en-Flac Beach.

Graham E. Cooke, Founder, WTA, said: “Our inaugural ceremony in Mauritius has proved an incredible success. We have had the privilege of recognising the leading destinations, hotels, resorts, airlines and travel providers from across Africa and the Indian Ocean and my congratulations to each of our winners.”

Honorable Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, SC, Minister of Tourism, Republic of Mauritius, said: “It was a big honour and a great privilege for Mauritius to host the WTA Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2019.

“Such a glittering event would not have been possible without the dedication and unwavering support of my good friend, Mr. Graham Cooke, and his wonderful team. Thank you for making 1 June 2019 such an exciting and memorable evening.”

In the aviation sector, Ethiopian Airlines was voted ‘Africa’s Leading Airline’, whilst ‘Africa’s Leading Airport’ went to Cape Town International Airport. In the Indian Ocean, Air Mauritius claimed the titles of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’ and ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline – Business Class’.

South Africa’s Table Mountain was named ‘Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction’. Kenya enjoyed a strong showing, with Kenya Tourist Board named ‘Africa’s Leading Tourist Board’, capital Nairobi winning the new category ‘Africa’s Leading Business Travel Destination’, and Kenyatta ICC picking up ‘Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre’.

In the Indian Ocean categories, the Maldives cemented its reputation as the definitive romantic nation by being named ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’, whilst Seychelles picked up ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination’.

Hospitality winners included Hilton Hotels & Resorts (‘Africa’s Leading Hotel Brand’), Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa (‘Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel’), Thanda Island, Tanzania (‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Island’), Pangolin Chobe Hotel, Botswana (‘Africa’s Leading New Hotel’), Legend Golf Resort & Spa, South Africa (‘Africa’s Leading Sports Resort’), and Transcorp Hilton Abuja (‘Africa’s Leading Business Hotel’).

The ceremony marked the third leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2019 – a search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world. Other 2019 regional ceremonies include Montego Bay (Jamaica), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Madeira (Portugal), La Paz (Bolivia), Phu Quoc (Vietnam), with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Muscat (Oman).

Find a full list of winners click here on the official WTA website.

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THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 Comments Off on THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 380

As the hospitality industry resumes operations, it has been the moment to adapt, redesign and implement new ways and ideas to help the sector accelerate recovery and reinvent the hospitality of tomorrow.

What are the most prominent trends in hospitality today and what will the new customers’ demands be? How are hotels adapting their business operations to receive travellers and go back to business but still remaining sustainable? What are the best ways to gain guests’ confidence back? What is the role of technology in the process? These and more topics will be discussed in this webinar on the future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19, focusing in the Middle East region.

Source – https://www.unwto.org/event/the-future-of-the-hospitality-sector-post-covid-19

THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN Comments Off on THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN 666

After the recent round of short interviews with hospitality leaders in the Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, these were the key messages that will win customers back. 

MALDIVES – No social distancing, but a rather physical distancing in the Maldives.

One month ago the Maldives reopened the country borders to international travelers and since then, welcomed nearly 4500 tourists mainly from the UK, USA, UAE, Germany, Swiss, and Russia. With strict health and safety standard procedures implemented across the country, starting from the airport to the resort islands, the ‘new travelers’ have already voiced their appreciation for the level of care and hygiene on various social media and forums. But if being welcomed by the resort representatives wrapped in PPE and armed with face shield, gloves, and masks might not feel like the most relaxing start of a much-needed holiday, Afeef Hussain, Regional Director at LUX* Resorts in the Maldives, reassures that guests do love the feeling of safety 

“Being able to arrive at the resort and start enjoying their vacation right away not having to worry about anything, is what our guests want”

Together with high levels of hygiene, another key element to restoring travel confidence is the value of the experience. Afeef Hussain shares that the ‘new travelers’ are not going to spend the same amount of money they used to. Therefore, the value of the vacation is under great scrutiny and determines whether your customer might decide to return to your hotel or to travel somewhere else. 

“There is no such thing of ‘new normal’, but rather a ‘new mindset’”

To ensure that each action taken to uphold the hygiene standards at the resorts is mutually beneficial, Afeef says that whatever is done for the guests, is also done for the team members. This ensures their wellbeing and wellness and translates the Company’s core message of ‘care’ into action.

SRI LANKA – Borders are closed, but our resorts are not.

Sri Lanka has recently delayed the opening of the country borders, but hotels and resorts across the island are back in business with the local market. The execution of health and safety standards at each property has been instrumental to restore a domestic travel confidence, says Arjuna Perera – Sales Manager at Theme Resorts & SPA based in Colombo. To start with, Arjuna Perera and his team produced a video message to show all the procedures and reassure their customer base. 

‘We immediately created a survey, to help understand what are our customers’ priorities at this critical time’ 

But, as we know, the local market demand alone does not cover it. A voucher system propelled by Arjuna’s sales team successfully generated over 1000 room nights. This shows that flexibility is another key factor to encourage travel demand. Flights can be canceled or delayed, quarantine systems are changing by the day. ‘All we need is a bit of flexibility’ says Arjuna ‘and the results are showing us that people are keen to travel, they just want to feel safe’. 

But how do we ensure social distancing in Sri Lanka? For Theme Resorts & Spa, more than distancing, we talk about isolation, but in a good way. The nature experience of some of their properties is guaranteed to the point that to reach some of their glamping sites, you will have to be picked up by the hotel concierge somewhere in the jungle.

MAURITIUS – A contactless experience and smart use of technology.

As Mauritius prepares to reopen borders next month, the health & safety checklist of the destination seems to grow longer.

The use of technology, however, plays a key role in the destination, currently undergoing a digital transformation with a brand new website, a travel platform in the making and a range of digital solutions for tourists. Airline and travel industry expert Youvraj Seeam, based in Mauritius, shares that to pick up on travel confidence, we first have to observe the consumers’ changing behaviors and thereafter understand the new demands.

“For this to be truly successful, we need collaboration with all the stakeholders across the industry”

Youvraj shares that tools like the Travel Recovery Insights Portal of ARC & Boston Consulting, the McKinsey Travel Pulse, or the Traveller Trends Tracker by Adara must be on top of today’s agenda for the modern marketer. This would enable industry leaders to have more visibility and start making progress along the way.

Based on his experience in the airline industry, the key message needs to revolve around hygiene standards and procedures from the moment the traveler checks-in, boards the plane and reaches the destination. Once arrived, says Youvraj, a contactless experience needs to be in place to ensure a safe transit until the guest ultimately reaches the hotel.

 About the author:

Dolores Semeraro is a multilingual professional speaker and trainer, fluent in the Chinese language. She provides strategic direction and training courses to companies and tourism institutions helping them to speak today’s digital language of their audience. Her vision is to create a sustainable digital connection between travel industry stakeholders and their desired customers.