The World Travel Awards, The Oscars of the tourism sector, has conferred the highest recognition to St. Petersburg, Russia, citing its potential growth and bright future in the tourism industry.The city bagged the title of the World's Leading Cultural City Destination at the World Travel Awards Grand Final 2016 on Friday evening.
Andrey Mushkarev, Chairman of the St Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development, said in a press release at the awards: "St Petersburg is now at the peak of its popularity. The city has won the most prestigious award in tourism."
"The northern capital of Russia hosts a large number of cultural and business events each year, and this is recognition of our growing significance in hospitality," he added. "This is the result of city authorities' work regarding St. Petersburg promotion as a world tourist destination."
Highlighting cultural importance, St Petersburg is not only limited to the Hermitage Museum and the Kirov Ballet according to the World Travel Awards Committee. The press release stated: "With an exceptionally rich history, centuries-old traditions and a bright future, this fascinating destination is built on more than 45 islands and has been modelled in the French style by some of the world's great architects."
Officers of the World Travel Awards have expressed a keen interest in visiting the country in 2017. It will be an exciting time for the city as it will hold the World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony in summer 2017. The FIFA Confederations Cup is also set to have St. Petersburg as host next year as Local Organising Committee CEO, Alexey Sorokin, has stated during the media briefing in Kazan, that "they are deep in the operational phase."
They also positioned themselves to be ready for the FIFA World Cup when Russia plays host to the competition in 2018.
Other winners are Lufthansa as the continent's leading airline while Zurich was awarded the best airport for the 12th year in a row. Titanic Belfast in Northern Island was hailed as Europe's best tourist attraction.
Portugal bagged many accolades, including Best Beach Destination for the Algarve, the Best Cruise Stop for Lisbon and the Best Island Destination for Madeira. See here for the list of winners.