Tue | Apr 20, 2021

Jamaica wins big at World Travel Awards 2020

Published:Wednesday | December 2, 2020 | 12:07 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Even in the midst of a pandemic, Jamaica has copped eight awards at the 27th annual World Travel Awards 2020.

The island has been named the World’s Leading Family, Cruise and Wedding Destination, while brands such as Sandals Resorts International (SRI), Beaches Resorts, GoldenEye, and Round Hill have earned accolades.

Efforts by various government ministries and tourism partners to introduce robust COVID-19 health and safety protocols to facilitate the safe reopening of the tourism sector are being credited for the success, a statement from the Ministry of Tourism said.

“This year has been a very challenging one, and these awards are a testament to the hard work our industry has put in to safely reopen our destination with strict protocols to safeguard the health and well-being of our citizens, industry workers, and visitors alike,” an elated Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said.

Leading Cruise Destination

He added that he was particularly heartened to learn that Jamaica had received the World’s Leading Cruise Destination, as the island was currently working with regional and international stakeholders to see how it could safely restart the cruise industry, which is an integral part of the local economy.

Sandals Resorts International’s recognition as the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company for the 25th consecutive year at the grand finale saw the Jamaican-owned chain copping not only the prestigious title, but three other accolades, solidifying the company’s position as an industry trailblazer in the all-inclusive space.

Beaches Resorts, the company’s family-friendly all-inclusive brand, was also recognised as the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Family Resort Brand 2020 for the 23rd consecutive year.

Sandals Chairman Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart described the recognition as humbling, owing to the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the tourism sector.

“Despite the challenges faced by the travel industry over the course of 2020, these awards are a testament to the brand’s resilience and to the team’s continued dedication to ensuring Sandals Resorts is a brand customers can always trust,” he said in media statement.

The winners were announced at a virtual ceremony on November 27 from Moscow, after a one-year process of voting on the world’s top travel, tourism, and hospitality brands.

During the virtual ceremony, Graham Cooke, founder of the World Travel Awards, said the winners “have all demonstrated remarkable resilience in a year of unprecedented challenges … . The World Travel Awards 2020 programme received a record number of votes cast by the public.

“This shows that the appetite for travel has never been stronger. With the hope of a tourism bounce on the horizon, our industry can look forward to a resurgent and bright future,” Cooke said.

This year, more than 270 nominations were put forward across categories including best hotels, airlines, tour operators, cities, resorts and attractions.

The awards won by Jamaica and its tourism partners at the World Travel Awards are:

■ World’s Leading Family Destination 2020 (Jamaica)

■ World’s Leading Cruise Destination 2020 (Jamaica)

■ World’s Leading Wedding Destination 2020 (Jamaica)

■ World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Villa 2020 (Fleming Villa at GoldenEye)

■ World’s Leading Villa Resort 2020 (Round Hill Hotel & Villas)

■ World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company 2020 (Sandals Resorts International)

■ World’s Leading All-Inclusive Family Resort Brand 2020 (Beaches Resorts)

■ World’s Leading Caribbean Attraction Company 2020 (Island Routes Caribbean Adventures)