THE Philippines added a few more feathers to its tourism cap, winning additional honors at the 30th Annual World Travel Awards held on December 1 in Dubai.
According to a post on WTA’s website, “The pristine beaches and reefs of the Philippines were recognized with awards for World’s Leading Dive Destination and World’s Leading Beach Destination.” It is the second year in a row the Philippines has won the recognition. For the first time, Manila was recognized as the World’s Leading City Destination 2023, edging out more globally popular and much-visited destinations like Acapulco, Bogota, Cancun, Cape Town, Doha, Dubai, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Marrakech, Mazatian (Mexico), Melbourne, Miami Beach, Nairobi, New York, Porto, Queenstown, Quito, and Sydney.
The overall winner, chosen through online voting, was The Maldives, which picked up the award for World’s Leading Destination, while the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corp. was recognized as World’s Leading Tourist Board.
At the Burj Al Arab, where the awards were handed out during a gala ceremony, WTA founder Graham Cooke said, “Our World winners represent the pinnacle of tourism excellence, and I congratulate each and every one for helping to raise the collective benchmark to even greater heights.”
He added, “The diversity, the opportunities with sustainability, the beautiful beach resorts, and now the diving, amazing, the beaches, amazing [are reasons the Philippines has won these awards]. The main asset is the people, and that is something that a lot of countries in the world don’t have. And it’s the people of the Philippines that make your tourism assets the most amazing. The work ethic, the happiness, the smile, and the hospitality that the Philippines have are global icons.”
City of Dreams Manila won as World’s Leading Casino Resort, a title it has held every year since 2020, and was also recognized for the first time as the World’s Leading Fully Integrated Resort. In the regional category, the Philippines won as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination 2023, Amanpulo as Asia’s Leading Private Island Resort, and Ascott Makati as Asia’s Leading Serviced Apartments. Other tourism stakeholders and companies were likewise recognized in Philippines-specific categories. (https://rb.gy/brlurg)
Separately, the Philippines was also one of the inaugural honorees of the Global Tourism Resilience Awards, which was initiated by the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC), a think tank founded and chaired by Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett in 2018.
GTRCMC was set up to aid tourism stakeholders worldwide to prepare for, manage, and recover from a crisis. The awards—which also recognized Qatar, The Maldives, and United Arab Emirates companies DP World and Dnata—were also handed out during the WTA gala ceremony.
According to the GTRCMC, the awardees have demonstrated global leadership, pioneering vision, and innovation to overcome critical challenges and adversity. The Philippine was handpicked by Bartlett for having gradually transformed to a more proactive management of risks, and focusing on preparation and building up its resilience to disasters.
In a news statement, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said: “With these remarkable triumphs, the Philippines reinforces its position as an unparalleled destination, inviting travelers to explore our captivating shores, vibrant underwater realms, and dynamic urban landscapes as they immerse in our culture and heritage, and create unforgettable memories with the distinct grace and hospitality of the Filipino people. We express our profound gratitude to all who have contributed to this success and we continue to dedicate our wholehearted support to all our tourism stakeholders.”
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries.