SA shines at World Travel Awards

first_imgThe Mount Nelson, in its leafy setting with spectacular Table Mountain behind, is Africa’s Leading Hotel. (Image: South African Tourism) The 2008 Africa World Travel Awards ceremony took place at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban. (Image: Albert Luthuli Convention Centre) Graham Cooke of the World Travel Awards and convention centre CEO Miller Matola. (Image: World Travel Awards) Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini with Manon Han of the World Travel Awards. (Image: World Travel Awards)Janine ErasmusFrom top destination to best safari, South African tourism was prominent at the recent World Travel Awards ceremony for Africa, the first Africa regional event in the 15-year history of the awards. Held in Durban in May 2008, the ceremony took place alongside the 2008 edition of the Tourism Indaba, South Africa’s premier travel trade exhibition.Launched in 1993, the World Travel Awards recognise excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry and are voted on by travel professionals from 167 000 tourism-related companies in more than 160 countries. With 919 categories in total, a World Travel Award is viewed as the ultimate honour for a travel product. The influential US-based Wall Street Journal referred to them as the “Oscars of the global travel industry”.Cape Town is Africa’s best destinationSouth Africa won a number of top regional awards with Cape Town winning in the Leading Destination category. “This award will help Cape Town to become more globally competitive as a tourism destination,” said Mansoor Mohamed, of the City of Cape Town’s executive. “Cape Town has built and maintained excellent tourism infrastructure and remarkable experiences.”South African Airways, the national carrier, was named Africa’s Leading Airline and OR Tambo International in Gauteng is Africa’s Leading Airport. In the category of Africa’s Leading Family Resort, the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa was the winner. Africa’s Leading Travel Agency is Club Travel, the largest independently owned travel agency in South Africa.On the wild side, Africa’s Leading Safari can be experienced at Shamwari Game Reserve, while the luxurious Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve was named as Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge.The venerable Mount Nelson in Cape Town, established in 1899, is Africa’s Leading Hotel. Africa’s Leading Hotel Brand is Sun International, and Sun City, one of Sun International’s flagship resorts, is Africa’s Leading Resort.In the country-specific category, the Saxon was named as South Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel, and the Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays is South Africa’s Leading Business Hotel. South Africa’s Leading Hotel is the Cape Grace, with Thanda Private Game Reserve coming in as the country’s Leading Safari Lodge. Finally, South Africa’s Leading Golf Resort is Fancourt.Visit the World Travel Awards website for a full list of the winners.High standard of African entriesThe Africa leg of the World Travel Awards included 75 categories, and with more than 500 nominations across every sector competition was fierce among the travel agents, tour operators, hotels, resorts, conference centres and other destinations that battled it out for the top spots. South Africa vied with Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to be recognised as the best African travel product.The standard of entries was extremely high this year, said Manon Han, Executive Vice President of the World Travel Awards. “The World Travel Awards Africa ceremony is proof that the industry is striving for improvement and, crucially, in every aspect of the customer experience. These awards are the most prestigious and highly coveted in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry in Africa,” she added.Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Awards, said, “We hope that the winners have set a supreme standard of professionalism in Africa with excellent examples of creativity and business acumen that can stimulate others to also raise their performance and their profile, not only within the African industry but worldwide.”Besides Africa, other regions include Asia/Pacific, Caribbean, Central and Latin America, Europe, Middle East, North America and South America. Events are held in all regions and the grand final takes place in December – this year the Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean is the coveted destination. The next regional event takes place in Sydney, Australia, followed by Shanghai, China.Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention CentreThe Tourism Indaba and awards ceremony were held at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, formerly known as the International Convention Centre. The centre is one of South Africa’s top conference venues and is itself a multi-World Travel Award winner, having taken top honours as Africa’s leading conference centre a number of times. In fact, the centre took the award again at the 2008 ceremony and just hours before the start of the event CEO Miller Matola signed a deal confirming it as the venue for the 2009 event.Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelethini, just one of the many dignitaries in attendance, opened the 2008 ceremony. In between the awards and dinner guests were entertained by the likes of award-winning local band Freshlyground and up-and-coming group Sterling EQ.The Tourism Indaba is run by South African Tourism, the organisation that markets South Africa’s diverse attractions to the eager overseas market. The organisation was elated by the chance to host the World Travel Awards, said Tourism CEO Jabu Mabuza. “This is a great recognition for our efforts in tourism.”Useful linksSouth African Tourism Tourism IndabaInkosi Albert Luthuli Convention CentreTourism IndabaDepartment of Environmental Affairs and TourismCape Town city websiteThe Mount NelsonDurban city websiteFreshlygroundSterling EQlast_img read more

Switzerland’s Hoefflin skis to gold in women’s slopestyle

first_imgNEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Sarah Hoefflin, of Switzerland, jumps during the women’s slopestyle finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin is the Olympic champion in women’s slopestyle skiing.The 27-year-old put together an electric final run down the demanding course at Phoenix Snow Park on Saturday, posting a 91.20 to edge teammate Mathilde Gremaud for gold. Gremaud scored 88.00 on the first of her three runs in the finals but couldn’t top Hoefflin.ADVERTISEMENT Simmons enjoying his first NBA All-Star weekend Hoefflin was in position for the silver when she stepped into the gate for her last trip. Rather than try to simply hold on to second, she went for the top spot. She finished with an off-axis 720 degree flip. She raised her arms after sticking the landing before skiing into the arms of her coaches.Logan, who will compete in the halfpipe competition next week, never really got going on her 24th birthday. She was a middling sixth during qualifying and her best trip during the finals came on her second run, when she appeared to be doing well only to scrape the ground after landing her penultimate jump. LATEST STORIES Read Next AFP official booed out of forum Hoefflin is a latecomer to freestyle skiing. She didn’t get serious about the sport until her early 20s when she couldn’t get into medical school after earning a degree in neuroscience.Isabel Atkin of Britain took bronze with a score of 84.60 in her final run.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDefending Olympic champion Dara Howell crashed twice during qualifying and didn’t advance. American Devin Logan, a silver medalist in Sochi, reached the finals but wasn’t a factor after either crashing or having execution problems in each of her last three runs.Unlike the women’s snowboarding slopestyle final, where wind wreaked havoc with the field, the issues this time around seemed to simply be the treacherous course. Only nine of the 36 runs in the finals were scored higher than 70, typically a benchmark for a relatively clean trip.center_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH View commentslast_img read more

‘My Pinoy grandpa inspired me to play’

first_imgRobredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo MOST READ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Fernando, Mauricio split bikes race honors Like Christian, who went to University of Nebraska and then University of Hawaii, the sisters took their volleyball acts to the United States before returning to Germany after graduation to play in the regional leagues.Standhardinger applied for the 2014 NBA Rookie Draft but was not selected. (Like him, Jared Dillinger also played for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors).The Filipino-German became available for the Gilas squad after his contract with SC Rasta Vechta in Germany’s ProA league expired. He was the league MVP last season.His trump card has always been his work ethic and how he plays the game.Gilas characterADVERTISEMENT “Christian plays hard all the way,” Gilas assistant coach Jimmy Alapag says. “He’s exactly the kind of player this team needs, the type of player that fits the Gilas character.”Standhardinger played his guts out in the Jones Cup, holding his own in a tough international field that saw the Philippines play against a European power in Lithuania, traditional Asian contenders like Iran, South Korea and Chinese Taipei and the experienced Canada 150 side that eventually won the championship.It’s evident in Taipei that Standhardinger is all heart on the court. In several interviews with the international media, he proudly yelled “Puso!”, the battlecry of the Gilas Nationals.Standhardinger will suit up in the Fiba Asia tournament in Beirut, Lebanon, replacing Andray Blatche—the country’s naturalized player since the 2014 World Cup in Spain—who refused to go with the team for the Aug. 8 to 20 showcase.After that, the pony-tailed National will head straight to Kuala Lumpur for the Southeast Asian Games, where the Philippines will try to win its 19th basketball gold and keep its supremacy in the region.Naturalized playerStandhardinger will play as a naturalized player in the Asian championship and as a Filipino in the SEA Games. His failure to get a Philippine passport before he turned 16 is the thing that’s keeping him from playing as a Filipino in tournaments supervised by the Fiba.But with dual citizenship, he is eligible to play in the PBA as a local. And that is certainly enticing news for any ball club rebuilding for the next season. Christian Standhardinger. Photo by Randolph B. Leongson/ INQUIRER.netChristian Standhardinger has been dribbling a ball ever since he was a small boy. In his early years, like most boys growing up in Germany, he did it with his feet in an open grass field.“I’m a late bloomer (in basketball),” Standhardinger told the Inquirer after Gilas Pilipinas finished fourth in the Jones Cup in Taipei, where he made his international debut for the country. “I have my grandfather to thank for that.”ADVERTISEMENT The 6-foot-8 forward from Munich took to basketball when he was 12, encouraged by Pablo Hermoso, the father of his mom, the former Elizabeth Santos Hermoso. It started his love affair with the sport.“My grandfather took me to parks whenever he played,” he said of Pablo Hermoso, who saw action for Shell in the CYMCA league in the 1950s. “He was the one who influenced me to [play] basketball. I played whenever he played.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsStandhardinger never forgot his heritage—especially the basketball part of it—that he finally considered a two-year-old offer by Gilas coach Chot Reyes to play for the national team.“I don’t know what the future brings, but right now, my heart is with my national team,” Standhardinger said.Volleyball-playing sistersIndeed, basketball has become a career for Christian, the eldest in a brood of three of Guenther Standhardinger and Elizabeth. His sisters, twins Kathrin and Kristin, are a year younger at 27 and play competitive volleyball. LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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