World Travel Awards

Durban International Convention Centre to host Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2018

World Travel Awards (WTA) has revealed that its Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony will be hosted at Durban International Convention Centre (Durban ICC), South Africa.

Hospitality leaders from across the region will gather for the red-carpet gala ceremony on 6th October 2018 to see who amongst them has been voted the best in the business.

Enviably located moments from Durban Beachfront, the award-winning Durban ICC is a state-of-the-art events and entertainment venue.

It will be WTA’s third visit to Durban ICC, having hosted ceremonies in 2008 and 2009.

Graham Cooke, Founder and President, WTA, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to return to Durban for the first time since 2009. With its beautiful beaches and fascinating Afro-Indian culture, Durban is one of South Africa’s essential destinations.

“We are honoured to partner with the Durban ICC. Opened by Nelson Mandela in 1997, this incredible facility has successfully staged some of the world’s most prestigious events. I look forward to welcoming all of our nominees here in October, as part of our silver anniversary celebrations.

“WTA has maintained its position as the industry leader for the past 25 years, consistently proving its value as the global benchmark for excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality business.”

Lindiwe Rakharebe, Chief Executive Officer, Durban ICC, said: “I cannot express my excitement at the prospect of hosting this prestigious event in our world-class facility at the Durban ICC and the beautiful destination of Durban.

“We are all looking forward to welcoming our industry colleagues, friends and media from around the world. We are ready to give all our special visitors a warm and unforgettable Durban experience.”

Durban ‘The Warmest Place to Be’ is a natural paradise known for its gorgeous coastline of sun-kissed beaches and subtropical climate, situated on the eastern seaboard of Africa around one of its busiest ports. Hilton Durban is an iconic landmark hotel in the city, offering superior accommodations in a supreme location near the Durban International Convention Centre. All rooms offer panoramic views of the city or the Natal coastline, with easy access to Durban’s beaches and central business district, perfect for meetings or events. Preferential rates at Hilton Durban will be available to all WTA attendees.

As part of the Grand Tour 2018, WTA is also hosting ceremonies in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE), Athens (Greece), Hong Kong, Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Jamaica, with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Lisbon (Portugal).

Voting for the WTA Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony opens on 26th March and concludes on 19th August 2018.

For more information on how to participate visit

Notes to Editors

About World Travel Awards

WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the WTA brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year, WTA covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

WTA gala ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

For more information about WTA, visit

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Afraid of flying? easyJet’s Fearless Flyer course could help

Budget airline easyJet – which picked up the award for World's Leading Low-Cost Airline App 2017 at the prestigious World Travel Awards – has opened up bookings for its two day ‘Fearless Flying’ course.

The course kicks off this month and will run until April, with sessions taking place in Belfast, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Stansted and Gatwick.

Over 6,000 people have attended the course since it launched in 2012- and it has worked for 95% of them.

The course is divided into two sections: a ground course section and a flight.

During the ground course section, phobia expert Lawrence Leyton teaches attendees proven mind techniques to control their nerves while a senior easyJet pilot explains the sounds and sensations experienced onboard a flight.

The second part of the course includes a one hour flight featuring full in-flight commentary, where the attendees can put their new skills and knowledge into practise.

Sian Smith, who attended a course last year, said: “Before the course, I hadn’t flown for ten years because of debilitating anxiety on every flight. I would be sick at the airport, hyper-ventilate, panic, and it would ruin my holiday. I was a bit sceptical about the course, as I was worried it wouldn’t work for me, but it was amazing!

“I felt so calm before the flight and when I did start to feel a bit nervous on the plane before take-off, I used some of the techniques we had been shown and was able to calm down really easily. I absolutely loved my flight, and for the first time ever I got out of my seat to walk around the plane while in the air, and look out the window.

 “I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is scared of flying, even someone really phobic about it.”

Course director, Mark Wein, said: “We’re really pleased to be holding our Fearless Flyer courses across the UK to help passengers conquer their fear, particularly just before the summer period so people can fly to some fantastic destinations for their summer holidays.

“The course is always really emotional with an amazing atmosphere and there are lots of smiles and tears of joy as people learn to fly fearlessly – some for the first time in their lives.”

Easyjet’s Fearless Flyer course costs £199 per person and can be booked online at



Shanghai Nights

In a city that is already home to more hotels than you can shake a stick at, you might question the need for three more.

However a stay at one of the following luxury hotels, all due to open their doors imminently, should put that thought to rest. 

Situated in Shanghai's historic neighbourhood of Dazhongli, The Middle House is a Piero Lissoni-designed temple to cool Italian design. Elsewhere The Bulgari is moving into the former Shanghai Chamber of Commerce Building, while over in the bustling Bund district, Ian Schrager is set to open The Shanghai Edition.

Recently released figures show that Shanghai - which scooped the trophies for ‘Asia`s Leading Festival & Event Destination 2017’ and ‘Asia`s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2017’ at the prestigious 2017 World Travel Awards - was visited by 8.54 million tourists in 2016, an all time high.

Superjumbo reprieved

The Airbus A380 - the world’s largest passenger plane - will continue to be built after a last minute order for 20 aircraft from Emirates. 


The order by Emirates - who scooped eight awards at the prestigious 2017 World Travel Awards - is a major boost for the struggling superjumbo programme.


Emirates is the largest A380 operator with 101 of the aircraft already in service. The new order of planes will be delivered starting in 2020.


"We've made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates," said Chairman Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum in a statement. "Our customers love it, and we've been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix.”


But the A380 has been a disappointment for Airbus. Sales of the double-decker, which has been highly rated by passengers have declined in recent years and its manufacturers had warned that the production line was at risk of closure.


 A total of 222 A380s are currently in service.

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China in your hands

China Airlines has made its glorious return to the UK with a new non stop service between London Gatwick and Taipei, Taiwan.

It’s the first UK-Taipei non-stop flight for five years making sampling the city’s night markets, hot springs and pillowy-soft bao buns easier than ever.

The service operates four times per week from Gatwick’s South Terminal using an A350-900, which can hold 306 passengers with business, premium economy and economy cabins.

Meanwhile Business class in the airline’s A350 boasts lie-flat beds, aisle access for each seat and access to the onboard Sky Lounge bar. Premium economy seats recline within a hard shell, while economy seats feature a slimline design that the airline says allows for extra legroom.

China Airlines was nominated for no fewer than eight awards at the prestigious 2017 World Travel Awards - widely dubbed the Oscars of the travel industry.

For more on China Airlines, visit

For the full low-down on World Travel Awards, visit


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