One of the world's leading industry awards, the World Travel Awards, held its 2005 gala awards ceremony yesterday. In previous years the awards ceremonies have been hosted in popular global destinations such as Las Vegas, New York, St. Lucia and the Bahamas. For 2005 the location was London, and the venue was the Royal Opera House. The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 and seek to recognise and reward achievement in the global travel industry. Nominees for the awards are selected based on voting from the previous year, with votes being cast online by travel agents in over 200 countries. The categories are broken down into geographical regions (eight areas) plus the Whole World category. There are also global awards for specific markets such as the World's Leading Sports Resort and World's Leading Private Island. For the 2005 World Travel Awards, a total of 176,000 travel professionals, including 110,000 travel agents, were eligible to vote on the awards. Speaking about the 2005 awards, Graham Cooke, president and founder of the World Travel Awards, said: "The Awards take into account the views of tens of thousands of travel agents and professionals worldwide - over two million individual voting decisions are made during our five-month independent survey period". Some of the 2005 World Travel Awards winners that caught our eye here at Winners Podium were the various UK and Ireland hotels - after all, we're always on the look-out for suitable venues for awards ceremonies and events. Winner of the award for England's Leading Hotel was The Lanesborough (London) with the Langham Hotel (London) taking the prize for England's Leading Business Hotel. In Scotland, the Leading Hotel honour went to The Balmoral and in Wales to The St. David's Hotel & Spa. The award for Ireland's Leading Hotel went the The Merrion in Dublin.