MUSCAT: It’s known as the Oscars of Travel and now in its 27th year, the World Travel Awards is more coveted than ever especially after the economic slump brought about by the challenging coronavirus pandemic.
While the travel industry has been severely affected, the prestigious award-giving body is not letting the economic slump get in the way of recognizing key players in the global tourism industry.
Now, WTA has announced the nominees and are handing the decisions to tourism professionals and travellers like us through votes that have to be made online. The casting of votes can be made on https://www.worldtravelawards.com/vote and after a quick registration, can be done through the Middle East category.
These awards can help boost the efforts being made to re-invigorate the deeply-challenged travel and tourism sector of Oman once travel is already allowed.
In the Middle East, Oman is competing against very strong contenders against established brands with the majority of the nominations dominated by the hospitality and travel players from the United Arab Emirates.
Overall, Oman has 6 nominations in major attractions categories, 10 nominations in airline-related awards, and 16 nominations in the hotels and resorts category.
Muscat International Airport, Oman has been nominated as the Middle East’s Leading Airport 2020.
Under the Middle East’s Leading Cultural Destination award, Oman is competing against Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Qatar and is also shortlisted as Middle East’s Leading Destination 2020 competing against 11 others across different Middle Eastern countries.
Oman Ministry of Tourism is also competing against 7 other tourism boards for the prestigious Middle East’s Leading Tourist Board 2020.
Under the Middle East’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination 2020, Oman is competing against Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.
Oman’s imposing Royal Opera House Muscat is also competing against’s UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Qatar’s The Museum of Islamic Art, Abu Dhabi’s Louvre Museum, and UAE’s Qasr al Watan as Middle East’s Leading Cultural Tourist Attraction.
Port Sultan Qaboos, Muscat has also been nominated to become the Middle East’s Leading Cruise Port for 2020 vying against Qatar’s Doha Port, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Islamic Port, Bahrain’s Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Dubai’s Mina Rashid and Jordan’s Port of Aqaba.
In the airlines’ category, Oman Air has been nominated in the categories of Leading Airline – Business Class, First Class, Economy Class, Leading Airline, Leading Airline Brand and Leading Airline Inflight Entertainment, and Leading Cabin Crew with Oman Air – Sindbad programme qualifying for Middle East’s Leading Airline Rewards Programme and Wings of Oman (Oman Air) as Middle East’s Leading Inflight Magazine 2020
Under the hotels and resorts category, Six Senses Zighy Bay was nominated as Middle East’s Leading Resort, Leading Beach Resort, Leading Boutique Resort, Leading Green Hotel, Leading Lifestyle Resort, Leading Luxury Hotel Villa, Leading Luxury Villa Resort, Leading Retreat and Middle East’s Most Romantic Resort.
The Chedi Muscat was nominated as Middle East’s Leading Beach Resort, Leading Luxury Resort, and Most Romantic Resort.
Competing with seven other hotels, Alila Jabal Akhdar is the only nominee from Oman for Middle East’s Leading Boutique Hotel. It is also vying for Middle East’s Leading Green Resort 2020 against five of UAE’s leading hotels and two from Jordan.
Desert Nights Camp, Oman is competing from four of UAE’s best desert resorts for Middle East’s Leading Luxury Desert Resort.
Other nominations included Kempinski Hotel Muscat for the Middle East’s Leading Hotel Dining & Entertainment Experience, JW Marriott Muscat competing from Qatar and UAE’s strong 7 for Middle East’s Leading New Hotel, Dolphin Village Muscat for Middle East’s Leading Residential Resort and Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara as Middle East’s Leading Retreat.
In the past awards, the UAE always snatches many of the major awards and even in today’s nominations, are dominating the numbers games.
The World Travel Award undergoes a rigorous vetting process and has been known to be the most prestigious comprehensive program in the global travel industry. In the past, selection of the best of the best includes hosting of worldwide galas before regional winners are given a chance to compete in their respective categories. Once the nominees are shortlisted, the voting process is handed down to tourism professionals, consumers and the travelling public.