The UAE has won a whopping 63 titles at the World Travel Awards 2021.
Unveiled on Thursday, the 28th annual awards follow a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands. Votes for the awards are cast by travel industry professionals and the public, with the nominee gaining the most votes in a category named as the winner.
Dubai topped the leaderboard for the UAE, picking up several wins including World’s Leading Business Travel Destination and World’s Leading Airport.
Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm was named the World's Leading Water Park and The Dubai Mall is the World’s Leading Shopping Mall. With a plethora of luxury hotels on offer, the emirate’s five-star stays also won several accolades, including Armani Hotel Dubai fending off a tough field to emerge as the World’s Leading Hotel.
In the newcomer categories, The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm secured World’s Leading New Hotel and Raffles The Palm Dubai, the first Raffles resort in the Middle East, picked up World’s Leading New Resort.
For family travel, JA The Resort in Jebel Ali is the World’s Leading Luxury Family Resort and Sofitel Dubai The Palm took the World's Leading Themed Resort. Dubai’s sail-shaped Burj Al Arab is still picking up awards 22 years since it first opened – being named the World's Leading Luxury All Suite Hotel 2021.
Wins for Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Sharjah
Abu Dhabi was another big winner in this year’s World Travel Awards. The emirate is now officially the World's Leading Sports Tourism Destination 2021. The well-deserved title pays homage to the high-profile sporting events that the UAE capital has hosted in the past year, including the UFC Fight Island, the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the soon-to-come Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi won the World’s Leading Theme Park title, while its home of Yas Island – where you’ll also find Warner Bros World and Yas Waterworld, was named the Leading Theme Park Destination.
The sprawling Emirates Palace won Luxury Beach Resort and the World’s Leading Desert Resort is also to be found in the capital, at Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa.
Island life in the capital is also a winner with Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort winning Leading Luxury Resort & Villas and stunning retreat Zaya Nurai Island taking the title for the Leading Luxury Villa Resort. Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi was honoured as a top sustainable tourism destination.
The UAE’s airlines – consistently ranked among the best in the world – picked up several wins at this year’s awards. The biggest win was for Emirates, which was named the World’s Leading Airline in 2021. The Dubai airline was also top of the leaderboard when it comes to first-class flying.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, won the title of the Leading Airline for Business Class, and the airline also has the World's Leading First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Travellers flying on any category with Etihad can also enjoy the airline's in-flight entertainment, which has been voted the best in the world at this year's awards.
Maldives is the World's Leading Destination
The Maldives cemented its reputation as the ultimate holiday pick by winning the World’s Leading Destination for the second time. The Indian Ocean archipelago was joined in the winners' circle by one of its neighbours, with the Seychelles winning Most Romantic Destination.
South America also reigned supreme with Chile named the Leading Adventure Tourism Destination and Peru collecting World’s Leading Cultural Destination. The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu was hailed World’s Leading Tourist Attraction.
For adventures in the deep blue, the Philippines' remote Amanpulo was named World’s Leading Dive Resort while Vietnam's InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is the World's Leading Green Resort.
The World's Responsible Tourism Award 2021 went to Dark Sky Alqueva in Portugal, the first starlight tourism destination in the world.