Sri Lanka once again figures in the travel Oscars’ hot list

Tuesday, 13 September 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

KumbukRiver, the eco-lodge which catapulted Sri Lanka to the world stage in tourism alongside its most celebrated names, has been nominated for the fifth consecutive time for the travel Oscars.

The World Travel Awards has shortlisted the Sri Lankan green resort since 2007 in the category of the world’s leading eco-lodge.  In 2008, KumbukRiver bagged the coveted Oscar, becoming the only Sri Lankan tourism brand to win as the world’s best.

Hailed as ‘The Oscars of the Travel Industry,’ the World Travel Awards is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade and celebrates those brands which continue to push the boundaries of industry excellence.

World Travel Awards’ aim has been to encourage world-class competition, to stimulate innovation and creativity and to ensure that travellers receive exceptional value. Contenders include leading tourist boards, airlines and luxury hotels. Over 5,000 organisations from across 160 countries will be competing for the travel world’s most coveted piece of metal.

KumbukRiver continues to be in the eyes of the international media.  Its list of accolades includes being amongst the world’s 20 most unusual hotels and remains the most featured Sri Lankan resort in the international media.  

The first of the 18th World Travel Awards’ regional heats took place in Dubai which saw Middle East entrants battle it out for the trophies, while the recent Europe ceremony in Turkey marked the second leg of the 2011 Grand Tour. KumbukRiver’s will headline the Sri Lankan assault at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on 16 September with further legs due to take place in Bangkok, Thailand (28 September) and Montego Bay, Jamaica (7 October) with the winners of these regional events progressing to the Grand Final in Doha, Qatar on 29 November. Here, the industry’s elite will attend the glittering gala event – including CEOs of leading travel companies, government ministers and tourist board chiefs.

Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President, World Travel Awards, said: “As the tension surrounding the regional ceremonies builds, we are looking forward to revealing the leading players and tracking their progress as they head to our Grand Final 2011. We have been equally overwhelmed by the number of multinational companies who have been spearheading their global marketing campaigns with their award victories.”

“With the global recession affecting travellers and their budget, the ability to choose quality travel products is becoming increasingly important to both business and consumer travellers,” said Cooke.

Dinesh Watawana, CEO of respected brand strategist The 7th Frontier which built and owns KumbukRiver as part of its CSR mandate, stated: “At a time when tourism’s leading lights are racing to build the world’s most expensive and most breathtaking properties, KumbukRiver proves that a country like Sri Lanka can be right up there.  All it takes is a big idea and a relentless drive to give it life.”

Sri Lanka may not have the financial clout to build mega structures but right through history it has shown to the world that it has the skill and tenacity to build wonders, he said.

A former award-winning international correspondent, military analyst and brand strategist, Watawana said KumbukRiver serves as an inspiration and an eye-opener to the local tourism industry.