Maldives Travel Awards honour best of Maldives tourism, hospitality

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) on Thursday concluded another successful edition of the Maldives Travel Awards, recognising the best of Maldives travel and hospitality.

Winners were announced at the grand gala held at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort Thursday evening. It was attended by former vice president Mohamed Waheed Deen, a well-known personality in the Maldives tourism industry, home minister Azleen Ahmed and Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela.

The winners include:

  • Leading Food and Beverage Outlet: Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc Randheli
  • Leading Food and Beverage Resort: One&Only Reethi Rah, and Amilla Fushi
  • Leading Low Cost Carrier: AirAsia
  • Leading Local Carrier: Maldivian
  • Leading International Carrier: Singapore Airlines
  • Leading Airport and City Hotel: Equator Village
  • Leading Business Hotel: Hotel Jen
  • Leading Liveaboard: Horizon III
  • Leading Liveaboard Brand: Voyages Maldives
  • Leading Dive/Water Sports Centre: Paradise Island Resort and Spa
  • Leading Surf Resort: Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi
  • Leading Dive Resort: Angaga Island Resort and Spa, and Kuredu Island Resort and Spa
  • Leading Local Hotel and Resort Brand: Crown and Champa Resorts
  • Leading International Hotel and Resort Brand: Anantara Hotels and Resorts
  • Leading CSR Programme: Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, and Six Senses Laamu
  • Leading Human Resources Management: One&Only Reethi Rah
  • Leading Wellness and Spa Brand: Duniye Spa
  • Leading Wellness and Spa Resort: The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi
  • Leading Beach Resort: Velaa Private Island
  • Leading Eco Resort: Soneva Fushi, and Sun Island Resort and Spa
  • Leading Meeting and Conference Resort: Bandos Maldives
  • Leading All-Inclusive Resort: Adaaran Prestige Water Villas
  • Leading Family Resort: One&Only Reethi Rah
  • Leading Designer Resort: Soneva Jani
  • Leading Private Island: Naladhu Private Island
  • Most Romantic Resort: Huvafen Fushi
  • Leading Luxury Resort: Cheval Blanc Randheli

In addition to the main categories, MATATO presented five awards to recognise special areas of tourism development and sustainability. They are:

  • Newcomer of the Year: Kandima Maldives
  • Most Supportive Resort: Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi
  • Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability: Crown and Champa Resorts
  • Lifetime Achievement in Service: Velana International Airport
  • Lifetime Achievement in Service for Tourism Development: Mohamed Waheed Deen

Voting for the 230 properties nominated for the main categories in the awards opened on October 20, and was conducted via an online portal and SMS until Tuesday. According to MATATO, 59,000 votes were cast online, while another 41,000 votes were received via SMS.

Winners for the Gala Edition were decided by a collective score based on traveller reviews on TripAdvisor and the popular vote.

Meanwhile, MATATO combined the grand gala with the second edition of the Maldives Travel Conference, which was held on Thursday at Bandos Maldives resort.

Initiated in 2012 by MATATO, Maldives Travel Awards celebrate and honour the best tourism and hospitality products in the Maldives, while fostering relationships with suppliers and local travel agents. From 20 categories in 2012, the awards have now expanded into three editions totalling 55 categories.

This year, MATATO has for the first time branched out the prestigious awards into three categories; the People’s Edition, which recognises successful pioneers and long serving individuals in the tourism industry, a Guesthouse Edition, which celebrates the outstanding performance of the up and coming guesthouse sector, and the Grand Gala, which is exclusive for winners in the categories for resorts, airlines and liveaboards.

As the first event held under the Maldives Travel Awards brand, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi hosted the People’s Edition on July 13, where 10 individuals were recognised for their immense contributions to the development of the Maldives tourism industry.

The Guesthouse Edition, held in the island of Maafushi on October 30, expanded on the recognitions awarded to guesthouses by MATATO as part of the Maldives Travel Awards, and celebrated the outstanding performance of the guesthouse sector.

Photography: Ibrahim Asad

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