Portugal has been the big winner in this year’s World Travel Awards, which has unveiled its lists of Europe’s best tourist destinations for 2019.
Known as the Oscars of tourism, the World Travel Awards named Portugal for the third consecutive year as “Europe’s Leading Tourist Destination,” with the Algarve region getting its own award as the “Leading Beach Destination” and the country’s capital, Lisbon, selected as “Europe’s Leading City Break Destination.”
The announcements were made during a gala ceremony on the island of Madeira, which, along with Porto Santo and Desertas, form the Madeira archipelago and was voted “Europe’s Best Island Destination.”
With its blue skies, crystalline waters, scenic hikes, subtropical climate and rugged landscape, Madeira, located in the north Atlantic Ocean, is a popular year-round vacation destination with nearly 1.5 million tourists visiting every year.
“Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction” was accorded to another Portuguese hotspot: the Passadiços do Paiva in the Arouca Geopark, with its eight-million-plus kilometers of walkways through beautiful, “untouched” natural landscapes recognized by UNESCO as a Geological Heritage of Humanity.
In total, Portugal basked in 39 accolades, including several hotel categories such as Best Business, Design, Luxury, All-inclusive, and Romantic hotels.
The Portuguese airline TAP was voted Europe’s leading airline heading to South America and Africa.
Other winners in Europe include the Russian city of St. Petersburg, selected as “Europe’s Leading City Destination” Madrid as “Europe’s Leading Meetings and Conferences Destination” and Batumi, Georgia, “with its mix of Belle Epoque and contemporary splendor” as “Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination.”
The hotel winners include the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, voted “Europe’s Leading Hotel Brand,” and the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, winner of “Europe’s Leading Business Hotel Brand.”
In the newcomer categories, the InterContinental Sofia in Bulgaria was named “Europe’s Leading New Hotel,” L’Oscar Hotel in London as “Europe’s Leading New Boutique Hotel,” the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice as “Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort,” Pestana Porto Santo All Inclusive Beach & Spa Resort in Portugal as “Europe’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort.”
In other categories, Venice Simplon Orient-Express won as “Europe’s Leading Luxury Train” and Turismo de Portugal as “Europe’s Leading Tourist Board.”
Established in 1993, the World Travel Awards (WTA) rewards leaders in the tourism, airline, hotel and hospitality sectors around the world, selected through an online poll involving consumers from the general public and thousands of professionals from the tourism and travel industry worldwide.
It covers 130 categories from transportation – air, cruise, car and rail – to attractions, destinations, hotels and resorts, meetings and conventions, agencies and operators, and travel technology providers.
The event in Madeira was part of the WTA Grand Tour 2019, a series of annual industry galas held across the globe annually.
Other 2019 ceremonies take place in Montego Bay (Jamaica), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Mauritius, La Paz (Bolivia) and Phu Quoc (Vietnam), with regional winners advancing to the Grand Final to compete for the world categories.
Grand Final winners will be announced at a ceremony in Muscat (Oman) in November of this year.
All the WTA results are here.