MENA Awards go from strength to strength

CHA’s Dr Saker and his team

The Mena Travel Awards return this year to the ATM, bigger and stronger than ever before. Some 400 participants have enrolled for the ‘Integrity of Hospitality Challenges Awards’ to be held on May 3 at Dubai’s Al Bustan Rotana Hotel.

“This marks a 28 per cent leap over 2006 and a phenomenal growth of 127 per cent over  our launch year 2004. We also welcome new hotel chains such as The Kempinski, Shangri-La and Jumeriah groups to this year’s awards. This is an indication of the spirit of competition prevalent in the Industry,” said Dr Sam Saker, president of CHA International, organizers of this event. 
He also indicated that the difference between the MENA Awards and other awards in the region is that the judges are the end users, whereas other awards are determined by a panel of judges, who vote on the basis of a portfolio supplied by the organization themselves.
First initiated in 2004, the annual MENA awards had been set up with the mission to stimulate excellence in both products and services by recognizing achievements within the industry. The award’s other chief aim is also was to stimulate competition and cross-trade synergy amongst various sectors in the industry.
And what of the trade? Craig Senior, director of sales and marketing, Midde East, Rezidor Hotels & Resorts who have 7 properties participating in the awards added: “Rezidor have participated in every MENA Award since its launch and we believe the awards are an excellent indicator of how our end users view our properties and services.”
Patrick Antaki, general manager, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, echoes the statement, as does Christoph Berger, resident manager of the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel.
The ethics and the integrity of the awards are an integral part of the process, said Saker. The stringent method employed by PriceWaterhouse Coopers and CHA to determine winners involves an adamant and uncompromising process. All industry entrants are accepted based on their respective ministry of tourism rating, depending on which category they are participating in. This is regardless of whether they are an international or a local organization. The final winners are judged on the basis of end user reports.
Over 75,000 voters of the industry’s end users, guest and clients (a total of 225,000 votes as each entry must vote with first, second and third choices) in 18 categories results in 76 awards being presented (includes a number of tied positions this year). Finalists will also receive a special runner-up certificate.