Kenya reaps big again at World Travel Awards for Africa


(Posted 09th April 2016)

Kenya’s leading tourism, hospitality and aviation brand names have once again shown their regional dominance, when the verdicts came in this evening at the World Travel Awards for Africa ceremony held at the Diamond La Gemma dell’ Est, aka Star of the East resort on the Spice Island of Zanzibar.

Kenya Airways for the fourth time in a row took the prize for Leading Business Class in Africa before capturing the coveted Best Airline in Africa award too. All other pretenders to those two crowns were relegated into the ranks of also runs and critics of Kenya’s national airline at home will once again have a bone to choke on, that voters from around the world heap praise on their home carrier where they are too blind to see the obvious, a quality airline aptly named the Pride of Africa.

Kenya Airways WTA2016 Leading Business Class

The Masai Mara Game Reserve added to Kenya’s winning streak when it took the award for Africa’s Leading National Park, beating more fancied competition to the top spot on the podium.

One company though, which last year carried home six awards, did what many hoped for but few in fact thought possible.

Serena Hotels, East Africa’s leading hotel group and the only one with a presence in four of the five East African Community countries, plus Mozambique, won big again in an unprecedented way. Recognized once more as Best Hotel Brand in Africa did their Kigali Serena Hotel, for the fifth year running, take the award as Rwanda’s leading hotel. The Zanzibar Serena Hotel was named as the Leading Boutique Hotel and the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo, the grand ol’ dame of hospitality in Mozambique’s capital, then followed claiming its own trophy. The Nairobi Serena Hotel claimed two awards including the coveted ‘Leading Green Hotel in Africa’.  The Kampala Serena and the Lake Victoria Serena will also take awards home in various categories, as Uganda’s leading hotel and for the best Presidential Suite respectively in Uganda – as did the Dar es Salaam Serena too. Overall did Serena scoop a dozen trophies Serena’s management will need to carry home tonight, more than ever before and according to reliable information from sources close to the WTA administration a record number in any of their past events for a single company in Africa.

(Serena’s table at the World Travel Awards for Africa in Zanzibar tonight)

Sarova Hotels also made once again an impact with, among others, awards given to the Sarova Stanley, the Sarova Mara and finally their Sarova Shaba Lodge being named as Kenya’s Leading Safari Lodge.

Porini / Gamewatchers too were rewarded for their constant high quality service delivery, Pollmans Tours named as Kenya’s leading tour operator and, absolutely not a shred of doubt there, the Villa Rosa Kempinski once again scooped the prize for Best Presidential Suite, the one where President Obama stayed during his visit in July last year.

Special congratulations go to the Radisson Blu in Nairobi as Africa’s best new hotel, and the one where this correspondent was the first guest to check in at opening day in November last year.

Finally from Kenya it was an absolute pleasure to see how Alfajiri Villas, owned and managed by my friend Dr. Fabrizio Molinaro, took the prize for Best Luxury Villa in not just Kenya but Africa as a whole.

Not to be outdone by the private sector did the Kenya Tourism Board reclaim their own trophy as Africa’s leading tourism board, seen as a major endorsement of the board’s range of activities on the domestic, regional and international market.

Last but not least did Fastjet then leave their continental LCC competition trailing when it claimed for the first time ever the award as ‘Africa’s Leading Low Cost Carrier’ and well deserved that was. It may give one of their cantankerous shareholders, belligerent Stelios Haji-Ioannou fodder for thought, why the airline’s clientele thinks so highly of the airline while he thinks apparently so lowly of their management and the company’s direction.

In closing did out on the islands of the Indian Ocean Air Seychelles then excel when the airline claimed not one, not two, not even three but all four award categories available  for the airlines of the Vanilla Islands, again an unprecedented vote of confidence by those who threw their weight behind their national airline.

Air Seychelles WTA2016 Four Awards

A full list of winners will be made available as the World Travel Awards organization hopefully publishes it later in the night or in the morning, sadly having failed to use their twitter handle to announce individual winners in real time to spread the news instantly.

It is congrats galore to the winners, more so the big winners as outlined above and keep up the good work!