Middle East poised for bright future at World Travel Awards

HH Sheikh Ahmed Al-Maktoum and Graham Cooke hand over the award to HRH Prince Alwaleed Al Saud

World Travel Awards chief optimistic for the future

As the Middle East continues to heavily invest in tourism, the quality and excellence of travel and hospitality products is shining through, Graham E Cooke, founder and president of World Travel Awards has said.
Speaking at the World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony held on Tuesday October 28 at the $1.5 billion resort development of Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, he explained, “Over the past few years we have seen a very heartening commitment to the industry in the Middle East region, more than anywhere else in the world, and it is best placed to face and address the ups and downs of the current economic climate.
“This magnificent venue here at Atlantis, The Palm is an example of the Middle East’s vision. This has been replicated in the standard of nominations for the awards which have definitely reflected the Middle East’s world class status.”
More than 500 Middle East travel and tourism companies and organisations from across the region were nominated with 26 overall Middle East categories.
There were also categories for Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Sharjah. 
“You will have seen the financial crisis which has affected some parts of the world, but I firmly believe that the Middle East can look forward to an economic boom in the years to come”, added Cooke.
“My reason for saying this is that international tourism is emerging and developing markets are growing at an average of up to 8 per cent over the past ten years.
“International travellers are projected to almost double by 2020 – that’s almost twice as much as last year. Based on the standards set by Middle East companies and destinations in these awards, I am confident that you will reap the benefits.
“There is no doubt that tourism is going to play an increasingly pivotal role in regions such as this. It will wield huge influence and this has to be good for every one of us who, like me, has a lifelong passion for the industry.”
Cooke said that the awards, which are often described as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry, are designed to stimulate continuous development and improvement of every aspect of the travel offering worldwide.
“We are finding that growing numbers of consumers are checking to see who has won the World Travel Awards in order to select their travel plans wisely and, of course, to gain reassurance and peace of mind.
“All those companies who were nominated this evening should be justly proud of their performance. Pursuit of excellence takes time and patience but you are attaining a first class reputation in your own right.
“The winners are clearly one step ahead of the market and I must congratulate them all for their work and ceaseless determination to improve and break the mould.
“A successful travel company or organisation demonstrates huge vision and creativity and all our winners have illustrated beyond doubt that they have this in spades!”