Four “excellent” shortlisted finalists will be going for gold in the ‘Best in Luxury’ category at the inaugural International Travel & Tourism Awards, presented by WTM.
The final four will go head-to-head at the awards ceremony, after a judging panel of experts carefully considered the wide range of “fantastic applicants”.
The winner will be announced to an audience of more than 500 leading industry figures – including government ministers – during a prestigious awards ceremony at London’s Grade I-listed Tobacco Dock, near WTM London’s ExCeL venue (Tuesday 6 November).
One of the judges was Lucy Jackson, Director and Co-Founder of luxury tour operator Lightfoot Travel. She said: “We were looking for trendsetters – people who are really setting the bar that much higher, as well as being innovative, inventive and offering a new way of looking at things to inspire the rest of the luxury segment.
“We’ve seen some fantastic applicants and there was a debate among the judges about the meaning of ‘Best in Luxury’ – and as a result we’ve decided on our excellent finalists.”
She added: “To be involved in the awards ceremony and the first ever for WTM is hugely exciting.”
The four shortlisted entries in ‘Best in Luxury’ are Caldera Yachting; the launch of BeyondWeddings; the Taylor Morris Eyewear and Mauritius Luxury campaign by Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Hills Balfour; and Laguna Lounge, at Sofitel The Palm Dubai.
Alison Hargreaves, Director at BeyondWeddings, commented: “We knew from our customers that we were exceeding their expectations and had successfully launched BeyondWeddings into the heart of the international luxury wedding planning market, and recognition in the International Travel and Tourism Awards sets our company apart from others.
“While so many wedding planning companies focus on cost-cutting for the wedding couple, at BeyondWeddings we recognised that there are a significant number of couples who want their wedding day to be truly spectacular and would like to be put in touch with the venues and wedding planners that can make that happen. It is hard to define ‘luxury’ for weddings; it’s far more than a beautiful setting and silver service, but about ensuring the journey is stress-free and seamless for the couple as well as their guests.”
Arvind Bundhun, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, said his team was “thrilled” to have been shortlisted.
“As a destination synonymous with luxurious experiences and five-star hospitality, this sector is always a key focus area for Mauritius. The Taylor Morris campaign was a great way for us to instil this messaging while targeting the affluent millennial market, specifically through a fully integrated campaign spanning direct-to-consumer, B2B activity, PR and social media activity,” he commented.
“Aligning with a brand that has similar values and target audiences to us was a great way to achieve this and which is now being reflected in the perception of our island ‘brand’ and of course the direct impact on the increase in visitor figures to Mauritius.”
Natasha Koukouraki, of Caldera Yachting, which operates luxury cruises around Santorini, said being shortlisted for the awards was a “great honour”.
She said: “We are very proud to be part of a significant competition initiated by such a reputable institution in the tourism market as WTM London.”
A spokesman for the Laguna Lounge described the attraction as “a chic beachside venue” which has diversified the food and beverage offerings of the resort operation at Sofitel The Palm Dubai – and contributed to additional revenue.
“The venue has attracted 18% of outside guests (non-hotel residents) and increased its covers by 18.4% year-on-year,” she said.
“Within nine months, the investment was recouped and obtained a break-even point ahead of the forecast.”
Look out for news about other shortlisted candidates and the announcement of the winners on the awards website awards.wtm.com or social media:
@IntTTAwards and #IntTTAwards.