NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 21 – Kenya’s tourism facilities have scooped nine prestigious awards at the 22nd World Travel Awards (WTA) gala ceremony held in Seychelles.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) led the pack by retaining the Africa’s leading tourism board for the fourth time in a row.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve was voted Africa’s leading National Park with Diani beach clinching Africa’s leading beach destination.
Twiga Tours was ranked Africa’s leading luxury safari destination as well as Africa’s responsible tourism company, while Carlson Wagonlit topped as Kenya’s leading travel Management Company as well as Kenya’s leading travel company.
Naivaisha- based Spa Resort, Enashipai won as Kenya’s leading spa while Nairobi Serena triumphed as Kenya’s leading business hotel. It was also crowned Kenya’s green hotel.
The 22nd ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry’ awards were held at Kempinski resort in Seychelles and attended by key players of the tourism industry from across the globe.
Speaking after receiving the awards, Commerce and Tourism Principal Secretary Dr Ibrahim Mohammed said the sterling performances by the industry will go a long way in building the country’s brand equity and called on the players in the sector to continuously improve on their service delivery.
“Hospitality industry has to keep pace with the changing needs of clientele and therefore a need for constant improvement of product and services. These awards Kenyan travel trade has received today are demonstration of services improvement,” said the PS.
While urging the tourism stakeholders across the continent to work together in growing tourism business, Mohammed added “Africa is our next frontier and this is the time for us as a continent to leverage on each other’s strength, synergize on our varied expertise for the betterment of the sector.”
KTB Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa welcomed the award for the best tourism board and attributed the success to the dedicated staff and support from the parent Ministry as well as the private sector.
“We are honoured to win the title of the Leading Tourism Board for the fourth time running and this will add impetus to our marketing strategies despite the challenges that have bedeviled the sector in the recent past.”
He said the voting of Maasai Mara Game Reserve as Africa’s leading National Park and Diani as Africa’s leading beach destination was an indication of Kenya’s unbeatable position as a safari and beach destination in the continent.
“We are leveraging on these endorsements of our traditional products to push our other diverse tourism products across the country,” Ndegwa said.
Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange told the travel industry that it was time for Africa to stand together and be counted despite all the challenges facing the sector.
He said Africa’s rich tourism products remain the world’s admiration but regretted that the continent was only able to net close to 5% of the travelers globally and challenged the industry to showcase their best destinations.
The WTA President Graham E. Cooke lauded tourism sector for their continuous improvement of products and services to meet the expectations and preference of their clients.
The WTA was established in 1993 to recognize and reward outstanding achievements within the global travel industry and the awards are endorsed by celebrities, travel trade and press from around the world.
The awards have been hailed by The Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry’, and winners are nominated by over 40, 000 travel trade professionals world-wide.