Maldives bags three destination titles at SATA 2017
Maldives has won three prestigious destination awards at the South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) 2017.
At the SATA Gala and Awards ceremony held at the Equator Village in the southernmost Maldives atoll of Addu Saturday evening, Maldives was crowned Leading Honeymoon Destination, Leading Diving Destination and Leading Beach Destination.
Maldives has won several global and regional accolades for being amongst the most romantic destinations in the world, with the latest being included in an annual list compiled by Brides magazine of the 20 most honeymoon worthy destinations in the world. Surveys and studies analysing travel trends have also shown that a healthy majority of travellers that choose the Maldives are honeymooners.
Known internationally as one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations, the Maldives has an abundance of dive sites with one thrilling dive opportunity after another. The islands of the Maldives have consistently warm waters with outstanding visibility throughout the year, and consist of exhilarating dive sites such as vibrant thilas, exciting channels, coral-filled overhangs and fascinating wrecks.
The SATA 2017 Gala Retreat is being held at the Equator Village in Addu. The retreat has been stretched to three days starting Friday, with SATA Opportunity networking event, SATA Gala and Awards ceremony, and a tour of Addu for the participants.
More than 414 nominations from the Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal were received for the 39 categories included in this year’s edition of SATA. Online voting and judging by a panel of experts concluded in September.
Top hospitality brands operating in all the participating countries competed for the awards, with India represented by The Leela, Thaj Whitefield, Forest Canopy, Intersight, Mulberry Holidays, Holiday Kerala, Courtyard Marriot, Fragrant Nature, Sheraton Grande and Spice Jet.
Sri Lankan brands that vied to be recognised at a regional level include Cinnamon Hotels, Movenpick and SriLankan Airlines.
Shangri-La, Barahi, Mulberry, Himalaya Airline, Annafurna and Tashi Namgay Resort competed from Bhutan and Nepal.
Brands that were nominated from the host Maldives include Soneva, Amilla Fushi, Jumeira, Villa Hotels, LUX*, Adaaran Resorts, Voyages Maldives, Inner Maldives Maldives, Cocoon Maldives, John Keells Maldives Resorts, Summer Island Maldives, Embudu Village and Maldivian Airlines.
Launched last year by Maldives-based event management company Highrise, SATA has been endorsed by regional tourism authorities and organisations, including the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka (FCCISL), Colombo Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), Confederation of Associated Tour Operators (India), Association of Travel Agents (ATA) Maldives, Association of Travel and Tour Operators India (ATTOI), Association of Professionals in Tourism (APT, India), Kerala Hotel General Managers Club (KHGMC), Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM).
SATA is the first ever regional travel awards endorsed by multi national associations, providing the tourism sector of the South Asian region with recognition towards their facilities and service excellence. It aims to encourage and raise service standards in the region’s tourism industry.
The awards’ first edition, which wrapped up with a gala ceremony at the iconic Mount Lavinia Hotel in Sri Lanka, saw an overwhelming support with more than 260 nominations. Major travel media organisations, including Maldives Insider, Asian Traveller, Asian Geographic, Asian Diver and Floating Asia were appointed as media partners of SATA 2016.