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World Travel Awards announces destinations for 2011 Grand Tour

World Travel Awards announces destinations for 2011 Grand Tour ( LONDON - After a rigorous selection process, Bangkok, Dubai, San Francisco, London, Sharm El Sheikh, Rio de Janeiro, and Antalya in Turkey have emerged as the hosts of the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2011 Grand Tour. Hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry" by the Wall Street Journal, the World Travel Awards is recognized worldwide as the ultimate travel accolade. The choice of WTA hosts for 2011 reflects those destinations that have dug deepest in adversity and are now spearheading the global travel and tourism recovery.

Thailand's incredible resilience and forward-thinking attitude has led to capital Bangkok earning hosting rights to the WTA Asia&Australasia Ceremony on September 29, 2011. Dubai is also bouncing back thanks to its insatiable appetite for invention, and its glittering new Armani Hotel will play host to the WTA Middle East Ceremony on May 2.

Deputy Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, said: “It is an honor for Thailand to host such an event of international prestige as the World Travel Awards. This is further endorsement that Thailand is truly world class as a leisure and business destination."

Rio de Janeiro, currently riding the crest of a sports tourism wave ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, will stage the WTA South America Ceremony on October 20. Destinations that have created tourism miracles off the sporting field also feature prominently in the WTA 2011 Grand Tour - Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, Antalya in Turkey and San Francisco will also play host to regional ceremonies.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, said: “World Travel Awards is about seeking excellence in travel and tourism. Our hosts represent some of the most innovative and exciting places to visit in 2011 - destinations with such a relentless drive to do things better they are now leading the world out of recession."

Established 17 years ago, World Travel Awards has grown into a global search covering six continents, 162 countries, and more than 5,000 travel organizations. Manon Han, Executive Vice President, World Travel Awards, said: “Our six events in 2010 generated significant media and industry exposure across the world, reaffirming our reputation as the 'Oscars of the travel industry.'

“This growing brand awareness on both a trade and consumer level also provides our host partners with greater exposure and kudos. Senior decision-makers attend our events and experience what each destination has to offer. Many destinations for 2012 are now being finalized, and we are extending tender invitations to those who wish to host the 2013 Grand Tour. 2013 marks our 20th anniversary, so we will be finding extra special ways to honor excellence in our industry."

Lauren Brady T: +44 020 7925 0000 E: W:

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