World Travel Awards has once again recognised the Algarve as the premier global beach destination. The popular southern Portuguese tourist region has, in conjunction with Portugal overall, also collected an impressive tally of other international awards as the year draws to a close, covering hotels and resorts, golf courses and restaurants.
In the grand final ceremony for World Travel Awards, the Algarve was named the “World’s Leading Beach Destination” for a second consecutive year. “We never take these awards for granted,” said Algarve Tourism president João Fernandes, “and it means a lot to us to win this award again, when there is so much competition from around the world.
“With many visitors keen to socially distance this year, we are lucky to have so many long beaches for people to choose from and spread out on. The 200 kilometres of Algarve coastline offers a mix of beach types from the more remote beaches of the west coast, which are great for surfing, to pretty coves surrounded by cliffs that are popular with families for their calm water for swimming. Many of our beaches are Blue Flag-accredited, and have excellent facilities, help points, life guards and water sports operators, which all contribute to a great beach experience for visitors.”
WTA was established in 1993 “to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry”, and each year a series of regional gala ceremonies are held to celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region. In November, the Algarve was named “Europe’s Best Beach Destination” for an eighth time.
According to World Travel Awards founder Graham E. Cooke, “Winning tourism’s top honour this year is more important and more valuable than ever before. With the welcome return of global tourism, the dominant trend among travellers is for extra indulgence and a determination to book with only the very best. And the very best are the 2021 world-level winners.”
In addition to Algarve’s beach award, other Portuguese winners were:
- Madeira – “World’s Leading Island Destination”
- Passadiços do Paiva (Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark) – “World’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction”
- Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel – “World’s Leading Classic Hotel”
- Parques de Sintra-Monte da Lua – “World’s Leading Conservation Company”
- Pestana Porto Santo All Inclusive – “World’s Leading Luxury Beach & Lifestyle Resort”
- Conrad Algarve – “World’s Leading Luxury Leisure Resort 2021”
- L’AND Vineyards – “World’s Leading Wine Region Hotel”
- Dark Sky Alqueva – “World’s Responsible Tourism Award”
Two car hire companies operating at Faro Airport were also recognised in the World Travel Awards:
Sixt – “World’s Leading Business Car Rental Company”
Europcar – “World’s Leading Green Transport Solution Company”
Golf Sustainability Award for Quinta do Lago
Following Portugal’s recognition last month as “Europe’s Best Golf Destination” in the World Golf Awards, the country – and specifically the Algarve – has receive a further prestigious global honour.
Quinta do Lago was named as the recipient of the 2021 International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) “Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency” in recognition of the “significant strides” it has made in resource management across materials, water and energy.
Delivered in partnership with the Golf Environment Organisation Foundation for Sustainable Golf, the awards recognise the sustainability work of golf facilities worldwide and acknowledge the high performance and commitment across three core areas of sustainability – nature, resources and community.
Announcing 2021’s winners, the judging panel praised Quinta do Lago for “its outstanding work in reducing its areas of maintained turf, investment in an upgraded irrigation system and its use of recycled water to maximise efficiency”.
The resort was further praised for its investment in a fully electric fleet of golf carts and hybrid golf course maintenance equipment, and for working with local government to trial and develop renewable energy solutions.
“While the golf tourism industry was focused on coping with and recovering from pandemic-related travel restrictions,” said IAGTO chief executive Peter Walton, “it was great to see so many golf courses take this time to review their sustainability programs, and in many cases take them to another level. This year, more than ever, I’ve been blown away by the ingenuity and real dedication that so many golf courses continue to demonstrate.”
A Celebration of Culinary Excellence
Finally, the Algarve’s Vila Joya restaurant has been crowned as the “World’s Best Hotel Restaurant” in the World Culinary Awards. A sister event of World Travel Awards, WCA was inaugurated in 1994 to celebrate and reward excellence in the culinary industry.
The Michelin two-star Vila Joya, due to re-open on 7 March, is part of a luxury complex, “thoughtfully embedded within the protected natural coastline of the Atlantic Ocean”, which also includes 12 rooms, nine suites and a spa.
Earlier this year, Ocean Restaurant in Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa was awarded the “Global Overall Restaurant of the Year” trophy in the World Luxury Restaurant Awards.