Kenya has again been voted as the world’s leading safari destination by the World Travel Awards.
Kenya scooped the prestigious award during a grand ceremony that took place at JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Hotel in Vietnam on December 10.
It is the fourth time that Kenya has won the global accolade. Kenya bagged the award last year, in 2015 and 2013.
Kenya overcame fierce competition from other African safari destinations such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Leading beach destination
Apart from the global win, this year, Kenya also scooped the Africa’s leading beach destination award, the Africa’s leading national park award and the Africa’s leading tourist board award from the World Travel Awards.
A message from the World Travel Awards read in part: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the world winners of the 24th World Travel Awards 2017.”
Thanda Island from Tanzania scooped the world’s leading exclusive private island award while Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Serengeti, also from Tanzania, won the world’s leading safari lodge award.
Legend Golf and Safari Resort from South Africa won the world’s leading safari resort award while Villa iZulu Thanda Safari, also from South Africa, bagged the world’s leading luxury private villa award.
Shambala Private Reserve from South Africa scooped the world’s leading private game reserve award.
The World Travel Awards are widely regarded as the Oscars of the travel industry.
Most prestigious awards
The organisation is the travel industry’s most prestigious awards programme, rewarding leaders in the tourism, airline, hotel and hospitality sectors around the world.
The body supports, promotes and develops the global travel and tourism industry by identifying and rewarding excellence and inspiring practitioners to continually raise the standards of their products and services.
The votes come from qualified executives working within travel and tourism and the consumer travel buyer.
On Wednesday, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chairman Jimi Kariuki termed the global award win as a great honour to Kenya’s safari offering.
He said Kenya deserved the win since it has best safari hotspots such the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park as well as the Tsavo East and West National Parks.
“The annual wildebeest migration spectacle in the Mara, abundant wildlife in our parks, which include the Big Five, makes Kenya stand above the rest in the safari world,” Mr Kariuki said.
He added that KTB would capitalise on the global award to aggressively market the country in both traditional and emerging markets for Kenya to attract many wildlife enthusiasts.
Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chairman Mohamed Hersi said Kenya was indisputable the best safari destination in the world.
“We are delighted that our country scooped the coveted global award. We must take advantage of the win to woo more safari seekers for tourism to recover,” he said.
The KTB boss said there was need for Kenya to protect its flora and fauna for it to maintain its global safari appeal.
“Illegal poaching of wildlife must be brought to an end for the country to attract more wild life lovers.
"The wildlife are a great heritage, which we must conserve for sustainable tourism development,” he added.
Reported by Mathias Ringa – Business Daily.