Kenya proves dominant in claiming most African honours at WTA Awards

IT WAS KENYA’S NIGHT AT THE WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS

(Posted 17th October 2013)

(It is all smiles as the Kenya Tourism Board celebrates their win as Africa’s BEST)

The World Travel Awards for Africa 2013, held last evening at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, proved to be a night to remember for the assembled who is who in tourism who came to the ceremony from nearly 30 countries across Africa. Present were those who had received nominations to determine who’s the continent’s best, to measure themselves at a yardstick of quality, something hosts Kenya certainly know about. In addition did dozens more from across Eastern Africa join the throng last night, to not only celebrate the awards but to show solidarity with their Kenyan friends and partners, to stand with them and show Africa and the world that Kenya was safe, Nairobi was safe and that it was safe to attend a function of this caliber.

Graham S.E. Cooke hit the nail on the head when in his opening salvo he reassured his hosts that not only was there never any doubt in his mind to have the award ceremony remain in Kenya but that a successful ‘Oscar of the Travel Industry’ function would serve as a reminder for others too to visit this beautiful country.

And those who came were not disappointed, as the winners were announced, category after category, well over 50 of them, and the home team started to pull ahead of the pack by piling up the trophies.

Gamewatchers / Porini Camps took home the Best African Tented Safari Camp Award while Finch Hatton’s, located in Tsavo West, claimed the honours as Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge. The prize for Africa’s Leading Spa Resort and for Kenya’s Leading Resort went to The Chui, aka Leopard Beach Resort and Spa while Alfajiri Villas took the top place on the podium as Africa’s Leading Resort. The Villa Rosa Kempinski got on the map only weeks after opening when they took the honours for Africa’s Best New Hotel and host venue Safari Park Hotel walked away with the trophy for Africa’s Leading MICE Hotel. The Aberdare Country Club, in the past regularly reported about here over their revival since Marasa Africa took over the property and injected millions of US Dollars into it, earned themselves – as a result of that transformation – the prize for Africa’s Leading Green Hotel. Il Ngwesi added more trophies to Team Kenya when they claimed the award for Africa’s Leading Eco Lodge while the Amboseli Serena Lodge took the top spot as Africa’s Leading Eco Hotel. The Masai Mara Game Reserve, renowned for the annual migration of the wildebeest through its territory from July to October every year, was named as Africa’s Leading National Park. The Sarova Stanley Hotel took the honour for Kenya’s Leading Hotel, received by General Manager David Gachuru who dedicated it to his late Chairman G.S. ‘Channi’ Vohra who had passed away last Saturday. Bunsons Travel from Kenya took the award for Kenya’s Leading Travel Management Company while Fairmont Kenya was honoured as Kenya’s Leading Hotel Brand. Other winners were the Ol Tukai Lodge from Amboseli National Park, The Windsor Golf and Country Club as Kenya’s Leading Golf Resort and the Swahili Beach Resort in Diani as Kenya’s Leading Beach Resort. Air Kenya was named Kenya’s Leading Domestic Safari Carrier.

On the continental scale did Twiga Tours from Kenya take the Responsible Tourism Award, after already scooping Kenya’s Leading Inbound Operator trophy while Serena Hotels walked off with their crowning reward of the night, being named Africa’s Leading Hotel Brand after already carrying away the trophies for their Nairobi Serena Hotel, the Kigali Serena Hotel, the Kampala Serena Hotel and the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel – besides the already mentioned Amboseli Serena Lodge – making it 6 overall, unrivalled by any other company in Africa.

Kenya Airways predictably scooped their prize for ‘Best Business Class in Africa’ and Dr. Titus Naikuni, CEO of KQ, was quick to respond to an article earlier in the week, when their new cabin product was described by this correspondent, that in fact the entire long haul fleet of B777’s and B767’s will be refurbished along the lines of their latest upgrades, while the B787’s would equally carry the new features when delivery starts in March next year.

And finally did the Kenya Tourist Board repeat their success of 2012 when it was voted Best Tourist Board in Africa, appreciating the hard work KTB had put in over the past 12 months under often adverse circumstances.

The full list of other winners can be accessed via www.worldtravelawards.com and notably was eTN (www.eturbonews.com) one of the event’s global media sponsors, represented by yours truly.

(The Top Three in Africa, Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya Airways’ Business Class and Serena Hotels)

(Chris Modigell and Jake Grieves Cook of The Chui, aka Leopard Beach Resort and Spa and Gamewatcher Safaris / Porini Camps respectively)

(Richard Kimenyi shows the Fairmont Kenya trophy)

(The Aberdare Country Club team with General Manager Kenya Richard Hodgson on the right)

(David Gachuru of the Sarova Stanley dedicated their trophy to the late G.S. ‘Channi’ Vohra)

(Marc Van der Borght of the Windsor claims the Best Golf Resort in Kenya trophy)

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