Nicknamed the Las Vegas of the Black Sea, Batumi – Georgia, became the focal point of the global tourism industry as it played host to the prestigious World Travel Awards (WTA) Europe Gala Ceremony 2023, marking the 30th anniversary of the esteemed awards.
The event unfolded over three spectacular days, drawing tourism royalty and spotlighting Europe’s premier travel brands and products.
Batumi, with its rich heritage and innovative future vision, was the ideal backdrop for this VIP travel event, earning accolades as 2023’s must-visit destination. The city’s commitment to environmental conservation, emerging technologies, and innovation, coupled with ambitious investment plans, has positioned it as a pioneer in the tourism sector.
Celebrating Excellence in Tourism
Portugal emerged as a major winner, securing the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Destination’. Madeira also received recognition, winning ‘Europe’s Leading Island Destination’. Meanwhile, Huesca La Magia in Spain was crowned ‘Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination’, elevating the city in Aragon to new heights in European tourism.
In the hospitality realm, Istanbul’s Çırağan Palace Kempinski and Sardinia’s Forte Village were honored as ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel’ and ‘Europe’s Leading Resort’ respectively. The Convention Centre Dublin distinguished itself by winning ‘Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre’, and Kaizen Hoteles was awarded ‘Europe’s Leading Independent Hotel Group’.
Newcomers also had their share of the spotlight. Armenia’s Seven Visions Hotel, The Dvin, was named ‘Europe’s Leading New Hotel’, and Greece’s Domes Noruz Kassandra was celebrated as ‘Europe’s Leading New Resort’. Lisbon’s Earthquake Center, Quake, earned the title of ‘Europe’s Leading New Tourist Attraction’.
Graham Cooke, Founder of WTA, expressed his privilege in hosting the 30th-anniversary celebrations in Batumi, praising the city as one of the rising stars of world tourism. He congratulated the winners for setting exemplary standards in tourism excellence and contributing to elevating the industry’s overall benchmark.
Batumi, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, is renowned for its favorable all-season climate, located on the Black Sea coast with the stunning Ajara Mountains as a backdrop. Tornike Rijvadze, Chairman of the Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic, expressed his honor and privilege in hosting tourism leaders from around the world and sharing the best of Georgian hospitality.
Georgia’s burgeoning travel and tourism economy were highlighted with several awards. Batumi earned the titles of ‘Europe’s Leading All Season Destination’ and ‘Europe’s Leading Botanical Garden’ for its Botanical Garden’s unique flora. Other notable winners included Martvili Canyon, Kolkheti National Park, Le Méridien Batumi, and Crowne Plaza Borjomi.
In the aviation sector, accolades were given to Air France as ‘Europe’s Leading Airline’, Zurich Airport as ‘Europe’s Leading Airport’, and Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic won in the Business and Economy Class categories respectively. THE LOFT by Brussels Airlines and Lexus @ Brussels Airport received the award for Europe’s Leading Airline Lounge.
This red-carpet event was the third leg of the WTA’s landmark 30th-anniversary Grand Tour 2023, a global quest to identify the finest organizations in the travel and tourism industry. The ceremony not only celebrated the achievements of the winners but also showcased the continuous evolution and innovation within the tourism sector. See the full list of winners.
Upcoming WTA Gala Ceremonies
The journey of celebrating tourism excellence continues with the next two prestigious events on the WTA’s 30th-anniversary Grand Tour 2023.
The Award Middle East Gala Ceremony 2023 and the Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2023 are scheduled to be held on 15 October 2023 at the luxurious Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, UAE. These events will bring together industry leaders and innovators, further highlighting the remarkable achievements and ongoing advancements in the global tourism industry.
And the Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2023, both the date and the venue will soon be announced.