Maldives Travel Awards 2019 honours top travel brands, hospitality leaders
Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) on Thursday hosted the gala celebrations of Maldives Travel Awards 2019, recognising the best of the Maldives travel industry.
Dubbed as the premier travel event in the Maldives, the Maldives Travel Awards gala saw more than 200 travel professionals come together at Crossroads Maldives — the first and largest integrated tourism development in the country — to celebrate the winners in 26 categories of the Gala Edition.
The celebrations began in the afternoon with a networking reception hosted at Café Del Mar for winners in the Guesthouse Edition. The winners in the Guesthouse Edition include:
- Leading Food and Beverage Guesthouse: Crystal Sands Hotel, K. Mafushi
- Leading Guesthouse (South): Reveries Diving Village Surf & Spa, L. Gan
- Leading Guesthouse (North): Nolhi Escape, Hdh. Nolhivaranfaru
- Leading Guesthouse (Central): Araamu Holidays & Spa, K. Dhiffushi
- Leading Guesthouse (Male Area):
UI Inn, Hulhumale
- Leading Eco-Friendly Guesthouse: Wave Sound, S. Maradhoo Feydhoo
- Leading Diving and Watersports: Dhigurah Retreat, Adh. Dhigurah
- Leading Guest House Brand: Kaani Hotels, K. Maafushi
- Leading Business Guesthouse: Airport Beach Hotel, Hulhumale
- Leading Adventure Guesthouse: Remora Inn, F. Nilandhoo and Season Paradise, K. Thulusdhoo
- Leading Guesthouse Island: Aa. Thoddoo and Aa. Ukulhas
- Most Innovative Guest House Concept: Bliss Dhigurah, Adh. Dhigurah
- Leading Transport Service Provider: Nevi Transfer Service
- Leading Beach Island: L. Gan
It was followed by the gala dinner where the winners of the Gala Edition and the People’s Edition were announced. The winners in the Gala Edition include:
- Leading Airport Hotel: Airport Beach Hotel
- Leading Low Cost Carrier: Air Asia
- Leading Local Carrier: Maldivian
- Leading International Carrier: Sri Lankan Airlines
- Leading Business Hotel: Hotel Jen Malé Maldives By Shangri-La
- Leading Local Hotel & Resort Brand: Villa Hotels
- Leading International Hotel & Resort Brand: Anantara Hotels & Resorts
- Leading Liveaboard: Ark Nobel
- Leading Surf Resort: Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives
- Leading Food And Beverage Outlet: Niyama Private Islands Maldives
- Leading Meeting and Conference Resort: Kurumba Maldives
- Leading Designer Resort: Cocoon Maldives and Kandima Maldives
- Leading Dive Resort: Bandos Maldives and Angaga Island Resort & Spa
- Leading Human Resource Management: Velaa Private Island Maldives
- Leading CSR Programme: Crown & Champa Resorts
- Leading Liveaboard Brand: Carpe Diem Maldives
- Leading Eco Resort: Six Senses Laamu
- Leading All-Inclusive Resort: Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives
- Leading Food and Beverage Resort: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- Leading Family Resort: One&Only Reethi Rah
- Leading Wellness And Spa Resort: Kihaa Maldives and The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives
- Leading Beach Resort: Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa
- Leading Luxury Resort: Cheval Blanc Randheli
- Most Romantic Resort: Huvafen Fushi Maldives
Maldives Travel Awards celebrated its eighth anniversary this year, with a record number of nominations in all major categories.
This year, the Gala edition featured 236 nominations in 28 categories, representing more than 100 registered travel brands in the Maldives. The Guesthouse Edition featured 196 nominations in 13 categories.
Winners in both editions were selected based on reviews by travellers and popular vote collected via SMS and an online voting portal. A combined total of over 110,000 votes were registered.
Meanwhile, contributions to the industry by three travel professionals were recognised, as part of the People’s Edition.
The individuals that received the ‘Tourism Personality of the Year’ award include:
- Raffaele Solferino: General Manger, Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives
- Ramsay Perera: General Manager, Embudu Village
“We have concluded another successful edition of Maldives Travel Awards – and we acknowledge the support and contribution from our partners and the travel industry to make this award a special recognition,” Abdulla Suood, President of MATAO, said.
“Growing numbers in nominations and popular vote is a clear indication of the progress that we are making in our efforts to develop this awards to a global recognition and a successful marketing platform for the nominees and for the destination.”
Initiated in 2012 by MATATO, the Maldives Travel Awards celebrate and honour the best tourism and hospitality products in the Maldives whilst fostering relationships with suppliers and local travel agents. From 20 categories in 2012, the awards have now expanded into three editions totalling 55 categories.
MATATO hosts three editions: 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 Gala Edition, which is exclusive for winners in the categories for resorts, airlines and liveaboards.