South Africa sparkled at the 2012 World Travel Awards, winning 32 awards out of a total 57 categories for Africa, including leading African airport, beach destination, family resort, city hotel, conference venue, safari lodge and spa resort.
South Africa’s hotels and resorts turned out strong performers in this year’s awards, with the following as winners in the resorts category: Sun City (in the family resorts category), Palace of the Lost City (casino resorts), the Arabella Hotel & Spa (spa resorts), and the Legend Golf & Safari Resort (sports resorts).
Winners from the hotels category were the Sandton Sun (in both the business hotels and city hotels categories), Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas & Spa (boutique hotels and luxury hotels), The Regent (apartment hotels), the Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve (green hotels), and the No 5 Boutique Art Hotel (town house hotels), while Durban’s International Convention Centre was named Africa’s leading conference centre.
South African Airways was named Africa’s leading airline as well as leading airline economy class, and 1time Africa’s leading low-cost airline, while Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International was voted the leading airport, Durban the leading port, and the Blue Train the leading luxury train on the continent.
South African tourism operators also fared well, with Club Travel (travel agencies), Travel with Flair (business travel agencies as well as travel management companies), and Flightsite.co.za (online travel companies) all winning in their categories.
Cape Town was voted Africa’s leading beach destination, the coveted “Africa’s Leading Destination” award went to the ancient medina of Marrakech in Morocco this year – which saw off competition from Cape Town and the Kruger National Park, as well as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Kalahari Desert in Namibia.
First held in 1994, the World Travel Awards has grown in prestige to become known as “the Oscars” of the tourism industry, with travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organisations across the world voting annually for the winners.