And the Winners Are: Ambergris Caye and Placencia!
We’re talking about the 2015 World Travel Awards (WTA), a formal affair held in Bogota, Columbia that hosted the crème de la crème of travel professionals. They came together for the 22nd year to heap honors on the top travel destinations and travel industry innovators on the planet.
While a number of Belize destinations and organizations were nominated for 2015 World Travel Award honors, expectations were low because the nation’s tourism industry is so new. When it was announced that, in the Central America and Mexico category, Belize had taken not one, but two top prizes, representatives from Belize were beside themselves with joy.
Ambergris Caye was named the Leading Destination in the Caribbean for 2015 and Placencia was the top vote getter in the Leading Beach Destination category for 2015.
When a nation with a fledgling tourist industry grabs honors away from top Caribbean capitals, this is monumental news, particularly since the judges of this tough competition are composed of the most important travel influencers in the world. As a matter of fact, 2,700 votes are submitted each year, so competition is stiff.
To thank the WTA for recognizing and honoring Belize, Mr. Einer Gomez, the Belize Tourism Board’s Vice Chairman, delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech when he got up to accept the Placencia award, reminding attendees that Placencia has been nicknamed the epicenter of Barefoot Perfect.
“This could not have been possible without Herculean efforts by Belizeans working tirelessly to make Placencia a safe, friendly and fun place to visit,” he enthused.
On hand to watch her husband accept the award for Placencia, Mrs. Gonzalez was as speechless as was he when Gonzalez was called to the podium a second time after it was announced that Ambergris Caye had received Belize’s second award of the night.
Again paying tribute to members of the island’s vast hospitality community, Gomez acknowledged everyone responsible for contributing to Ambergris Caye’s success, concluding his remarks with this pithy tribute to everyone working within Belize’s tourist industry: “Your hard work and dedication to sharing Belize with the world has clearly not gone unnoticed.”
Asked why Ambergris Caye, Caribbean’s hottest destination, won two awards, Belize tourism professionals point to resorts like the Villas at Banyan Bay, an uber-popular resort that’s typical of the upscale accommodations found throughout the town of San Pedro.
Banyan Bay amenities are luxe and access to activities like diving, snorkeling and proximity to ancient Maya ruins and mysterious cave systems keep Banyan Bay visitors so loyal, they simply won’t stay elsewhere. Even cuisine at the resort’s onsite restaurant has received culinary awards.
From the world’s most impressive sunsets to a world-class barrier reef, Belize has so much going for it, it’s a wonder the nation doesn’t win international awards monthly. If the Belize Tourism Board has anything to say about this subject, these two honors won’t be the last…which is why we recommend keeping champagne glasses at the ready!