St Petersburg has been awarded ‘Europe’s Leading Destination 2016’ at the World Travel Awards during the Europe Gala Ceremony held at Forte Village Resort in Sardinia.
This is the second year in a row that the second largest city in Russia has won this accolade. Home to the Hermitage Museum and the Kirov Ballet, it has been recognised for its exceptionally rich history, centuries-old traditions and bright future.
In 2015, St Petersburg won the Leading Destination title for the first time, becoming the first Russian city to do so in the award’s 23-year history. According to St Petersburg’s Tourism Development Committee, in 2015 nearly seven million tourists from Germany, Italy, Finland, China and other countries visited Russia’s northern capital.
St Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development Chairman, Andrey Mushkarev, accepted the trophy at the event and said, “This prestigious award proves that the development of the tourism industry in St. Petersburg is of a high level. We are proud of the recognition by the international community and of the fact that St. Petersburg became the tourism capital not only of Russia, but also for Europe."
Dubbed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’, the World Travel Awards is an annual event with winners voted for by a jury of international hospitality experts. Established in 1993, the ceremony honours leaders in the tourism, airlines, hotel and hospitality sectors.
Other nominees in the category included (in alphabetical order); Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Florence, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Paris, Porto, Rome and Venice. Other winners included; Europcar for ‘Europe’s Leading Car Company’, the Madeira Islands for ‘Europe’s Leading Island Destination’, whilst in the aviation sector, Lufthansa defended its title of ‘Europe’s Leading Airline’.
It has also been revealed that St Petersburg will play host to the World Travel Awards for the first time in 2017.