Last week, I had pleasure of attending India’s Best Awards by Travel+Leisure India and South Asia at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi. It was all an elaborate affair, as the glittering night progressed with a promise of getting better and better. The award function induced major wanderlust in the traveller in me and I came back home with new places added in my already unending travel bucket list. With these awards, one could easily gauge travel trends, both emerging ones and the ones which have been there forever.
On its 10th Anniversary in the South Asian region, Travel + Leisure India & South Asia announced the results of its fifth edition of the India’s Best Awards today. Digital polling was conducted through their website over a period of five months since August this year, which culminated in the announcement and Awards Ceremony at the Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi. The chief guest for the evening was Dr. Martin Ney, the German Ambassador to India, delivered a keynote speech and presented awards to the winners. Mr. Lorenzo Angeloni, the Italian Ambassador to India, also graced the occasion.
With 49 awards across different categories that range from the best country, emerging destination, cruise, business hotel, airport, destination spa, and honeymoon destinations in India and across the world, thousands of Travel + Leisure India & South Asia’s discerning readers have voted robustly and discriminatingly and the competition was very close in most categories. Additionally, the last two awards for the evening were decided by the travel community Tripoto, for the best blogger and amateur photographer.
HP India, one of the partners for the awards, installed a virtual reality golfing game at the venue that the guests enjoyed immensely. Other partners for the evening were The Wadhwa Group, Associate Partner, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi, Hospitality Partner, Ballantine’s, Associate Partner, Tripoto, Travel Community Partner, and Kama Ayurveda, Souvenir Partner.
The evening saw many known names in the travel and lifestyle industries. Classical musician Ustaad Shujaat Khan, Padmashri Kathak Guru Shovana Narayan, spiritual guru Anita Achariaji, Priya Paul, Chairperson of The Apeejay Surendra Park Hotels, tech guru Rajiv Makhni, former Indian cricketer Atul Wassan, Anil Lepps, CEO, India Bulls and Monisha Bajaj, designer Dhruv Kapur, and Tripoto co-founder Michael Lyngdoh were invited to present the awards.
This year, the Best State award had joined winners, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. Mr. B Venkatesan, IAS, Secretary to Telangana Govt, Department of Tourism, Youth Advancement and Culture and Mr Tapan Bhaumik, Chairman, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation received the awards. Kerala, an absolute favourite when it comes to romantic getaways, was voted the Best Honeymoon destination by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia readers. Mr Balamurali, IAS, Additional Director General, Kerala Tourism came on stage to receive the award.
Coming to international destinations, Travel+Leisure India readers were divided between Israel and Mexico for the Best Cultural Destination. The awards were given to Mr Hasan Madah, Director Israel Tourism, and Minister Eduardo Curiel, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Mexico.
Another surprise this time was the Best Emerging Destination, shared by Germany and Bulgaria. Mr. Romil Theophilus, Director for India, German Tourism and Mr. Ilya Dekov, Cultural Councilor, Bulgarian Consulate were presented the awards.
Lufthansa and Emirates bagged the Best Airline (International) with Ms. Anju Gupta and Ms. Simran Kapoor from Lufthansa and Mr. Tarun Sharma from Emirates accepted the awards.
Canada surpassed all other countries to win the Best Adventure Destination; while Ireland and Italy grabbed the Best Luxury Destination award. Mr. Sanjeet, Representative, Destination Canada, Mr. Salvatore Ianniello, from the Italian State Tourism Board, and Ms, Beena Menon from Tourism Ireland accepted the trophies.
“Every year, the results of Travel+Leisure India’s Best Awards are like a master wish list for travellers. In the past years, our readers enthusiastically filled out forms from the magazine and mailed them to us with their favourite destinations, hotels and attractions. This year, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary in India, we went 100% digital in the voting process. And we heard a resounding response. Over 5 months, the team watched the backend and saw votes racking up in real time on mobile, tablet and website travelandleisureindia.in. Each winner this year reflects a changing business and cultural climate, the fact that readers are travelling deeper, and that they are seeking new and varied experiences. As always, it is wonderful to inspire our readers and be inspired by them,” says Ruchira Bose, Editor, Travel + Leisure India & South Asia.
Speaking on the occasion Massimo Monti, COO, Burda Asia and India MD said, “EMM India, a Burda International Company, has had tremendous success in building magazines that focus on high net worth individuals and the luxury segment. In India, we have 14 successful titles where high quality editorial and production value, sharp insight into our readers, strategic partnerships, and effective distribution have made us a brand to reckon with. In the last few years we have, preempted trends, spotted opportunities, and delivered meaningful and measurable impact to advertisers and partners. Travel+Leisure India & South Asia is a good example of this. We are proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year and are excited to continue to help the luxury travel industry flourish.”
A complete list of winners follows:
India’s Best Awards List 2016
Best Country – Singapore & Australia
Best City – Hong Kong
Best Emerging Destination – Bulgaria & Germany
Best Heritage Destination – Israel & Mexico
Best Honeymoon Destination – France & South Africa
Best Wedding Destination – Thailand & Abu Dhabi
Best Food Destination – Spain & Japan
Best Family Destination – Switzerland
Best Luxury Destination – Italy & Ireland
Best Adventure Destination – Canada
Best State – Telangana & Madhya Pradesh
Best Emerging Destination – Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu
Best Heritage Destination – Bihar & Odisha
Best Cultural Destination – West Bengal & Karnataka
Best Honeymoon Destination – Kerala
Best Wedding Destination – Goa & Puducherry
Best Family Destination – Gujarat & Maharashtra
Best Spiritual Destination – Uttarakhand
Best New Hotel – InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram
Best Heritage Hotel – The Imperial, New Delhi & The Taj Falaknuma
Best Boutique Hotel – Namah, Jim Corbett
Best Hotel For Women Travellers – Leela Palace, New Delhi & Ritz Carlton-Bangalore
Best Business Hotel – Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi & The Park, New Delhi
Best Luxury Business Hotel – Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway
Best Luxury Resort – The Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur
Best Destination Spa – Kumarakom Lake Resort
Best Hotel Group – The Oberoi Group & The Taj Group
Best New Hotel – Andaz Amsterdam & Palazzo Versace, Dubai
Best Business Hotel – JW Marriott Marquis Dubai & Park Hyatt Tokyo
Best Heritage Hotel – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore
Best Luxury Resort – One & Only Reethi Rah Maldives
Best Hotel Group – Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Marriott International)
Best Destination Spa – Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi
Best Hotel Loyalty Programme- SPG – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Golf Resort- The Address Montgomerie Dubai
Best Luxury Safari Resort- Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa
Best Airport-International- Changi Airport, Singapore
Best Airline- International- Lufthansa and Emirates
Best Airport-India- Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3
Best Airline-Domestic- Vistara
Best Airport Lounge- Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow Clubhouse
Best Duty Free Shopping- Mumbai Duty Free
Best Amusement Park- Universal Studios, Singapore
Best Integrated Resort- Resort World Sentosa, Singapore
Best Tour Operator- Abercrombie & Kent India, Cox & Kings India
Best Cruise- Regent Seven Seas
Though the list is long, I am already on a quest to figure out where should I head first! Travel + Leisure has sure given me another reason to travel! #tnlindia