JEDDAH: AFIFA JABEEN QURAISHIARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Tuesday 29 January 2013
Last update 29 January 2013 7:04 pm
The Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards (SETAs) has increased the number of nomination categories by almost 50 percent, due to their popularity in previous years.
In this third edition of the award contest, SETA added categories aimed at recognizing individual contributions to the tourism sector.
The 2013 SETAs have already received over 200 nominees across its 36 categories on its website.
“The growing number of nominations and the increasing number of votes are a clear indication that the tourism and accommodation industry and the general public recognize the benefit of the SETAs,” said Barry Gray, SETAs managing consultant. This year the Tourism People category has been expanded to six sub-categories, covering all members of staff within the tourism industries, such as Best Tour Guide, Reception Professional of the Year, Tourism Sales Professional of the Year, Best Young Chef and others.
“As in previous years, one of the most hotly contested categories is the Accommodation category, but close behind are Restaurants and Tourism Attractions,” said Gray.
Gray said last year nearly 110,000 votes were cast. “This indicates that the awards are a valued recognition of above-average performance and improvements in the standard of operations.”
An online nomination can be done by either a company, an individual member of staff working in a tourism-related company or a customer of one of the companies.
“Nominated companies or individuals should generate votes on the website from their customers. Nominees with the highest number of votes will be asked to submit a detailed nomination pack for review by the panel of judges,” said Gray.
SETA’s judging panel will comprise of 12 experts involved in the tourism and hospitality sectors, such as academics, consultants, marketers and others with specialist skills and experience.
“The judges have been invited from international, regional and Saudi Arabian companies. One of the elements we are most proud of about the SETAs is the integrity of the judging. It has never been called into question and we intend to maintain this reputation,” said Gray.
The nominations are open until Feb. 15 to both Saudis and expats, “but they are mainly for companies. Preference will be given to Saudi nationals in the ‘People’ category,” said Gray. Voting continues until Feb. 28. “The Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards are another step in our continuous objective of responsible development of our country’s tourism offerings,” said Prince Sultan bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) that supervises the award contest.
“The SETAs are aimed at recognizing not only category winners, but everyone who has contributed to the development of our tourism industry.” Announcement of the winners of the 2013 SETAs will be on April 2 at a gala ceremony in Riyadh.