17 October 2012
South Africa enjoyed a big share of the spoils in the 2012 World Travel Awards for Africa, winning 32 awards out of a total 57 categories, including leading African airport, beach destination, family resort, city hotel, conference venue, safari lodge and spa resort.
First held in 1994, the World Travel Awards have 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. The results for Africa were announced last month.
Hotels and resorts
South Africa’s hotels and resorts were strong performers in this year’s awards. Among the resorts, South Africa’s winners were 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 among the hotels 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.
Wildlife and wilderness tourism
Closer to the wild, South Africa’s Shamwari Game Reserve (in both the safari lodges and the conservation companies categories), Thanda Private Game Reserve (luxury game reserves), and Shambala Private Reserve (luxury lodges) all ran out winners.
The country also scored well for responsible tourism, with &Beyond being named leading responsible tourism company as well as leading game reserve brand, and Fish Eagle Safaris winning Africa’s Responsible Tourism Award. Fairmont Zimbali was named Africa’s leading tourism development project.
Airlines, airports, travel agents
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.
Africa’s Leading Destination
While Cape Town was voted Africa’s leading beach destination, the coveted “Africa’s Leading Destination” award went this year to the ancient medina of Marrakech in Morocco – 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.