AT a glittering and glamorous Gala Presentation Dinner of the Africa and Indian Ocean award ceremony of the World Travel Awards, held for the first time on the African continent at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, on the 7th July, Dr Aupindi Tobie Aupindi, Managing Director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts, was voted Africa?s Tourism Personality of the year by 183 000 travel expert and business leaders from all over the world.
The World Travel Award is the ?OSCAR? of the travel industry and winning the event automatically elevates ones status international.
Motivating to the guest in Sandton the President of the World Travel Award Mr Graham Cooke said he is please that the international travel industry has voted for Dr Aupindi. He said this came in recognition of his achievements and business acumen over the past four years in spearheading the turnaround of the State Owned Enterprise, Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
Namibia Wildlife Resorts was also voted Namibia?s Leading Tourism Brand. He further said that while the NWR is not there where we want it, he acknowledge the mess it was in and said that anyone blind to see these realities does not simply care about reality. He said that some five years ago NWR could not even make it into Europe?s premier brochure, however, today he said NWR is featured prominently and the top tour operators in Europe are happy about the progress made and are indeed supporting the NWR product.
He said ?the Government send Tobie on a very tough mission and he has succeeded and the World Travel industry recognizes people who are at least making a hard effort to bring positive changes to the lives of many? Winning these awards represent a significant acknowledgement to Dr Aupindi and to Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
Other personalities Aupindi was nominated for the Africa personality of the year award together with David Coutts-Trotter the CEO of sun International, Ms Siza Mzimela the CEO of South Arican Airways, Otto Stehlik the Chairman of Protea Hotel, David Wood the MD of Southern Sun Hotels.
The World Travel Awards have been an annual event on the tourism calendar for the past 17 years, but this was the first time that it was held in Africa, to coincide with the hosting of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup on African soil.
The World Travel Awards aim to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel, tourism and hospitality industry, and have been touted as the ?Oscars of the travel industry?. It is a celebration of those individuals and organizations that have made the greatest contribution to the global tourism and travel industry, and recognizes those brands that are driving the industry to greater heights and innovation in travel. This year, 183000 industry professionals participated in the voting process, which is independently audited.
The Gala Dinner was attended by several hundred distinguished guests, including the tourism industry?s senior professionals, major tourism leaders, and high ranking government representatives, international business leaders and people from the entertainment business. The event also received extensive regional, national and international broadcast and print media coverage through the event partners such as World.Mobi, BBC World News, Breaking Travel News and eTurboNews. Guests were treated to entertainment by a diversity of international and local artists, including the Soweto Marimba Youth Leagues during welcoming drinks, and by Sterling EQ, African Footprint, Kwela Tebza, the Clinch Crew, Umoja and one of South Africa?s top comedians, Trevor Noah.
Winners of awards at the Africa and Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony will compete against the best throughout the world at the World Travel Awards Grand Finale, which will take place in London (UK) in November, immediately before World Travel Market.
During the interviews with the international press, Aupindi told the press that Africans can only emancipate themselves from poverty if they try to overcome a colonial influenced present, battle against mediocrity and regain their rightful place on the global stage. He further said economic development, economic growth and empowerment of the African people is no longer negotiable. Aupindi paid tribute to the international business personalities and travel executives from all over the world who voted for him as Africa?s personality of the year.
?Its touching and motivating to me that I am appreciated by people from so far away? Aupindi said.