Launched in 2011, the KL Mayor’s Tourism Awards were created to recognise excellence in the service industry. As one of the world’s top travel destinations, Kuala Lumpur has so much to offer from glitzy shopping malls and irresistible cuisine to unforgettable tourist attractions. These awards seek to give due credit to those leading the way in the tourism industry, nominated in categories ranging from accommodation and dining to tourist attractions and shopping malls. 2017 marks the third edition of these awards, which were officially launched in early March by the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Mhd Amin Nordin Bin Abd Aziz. In his address during the launching ceremony, the mayor noted the 77% increase in nominations from the first year to the second, saying he was fully confident that this year would be better than ever, given the current global tourism climate. “As global challenges continue to affect the arrivals to our city, it is more important now that we strive to increase our competitiveness in attracting more tourists to KL. Elevating the level of excellence in our tourist offerings is critical in making Kuala Lumpur a preferred tourist destination,” he said. There are a total of 14 categories and sub-categories of awards to be presented this year. They include budget and 3-5 star hotels; fine dining and homegrown restaurants; family entertainment and cultural tourist attractions; shopping malls; medical tourism; and the Mayor’s Commendable Awards for outstanding front liners. A new category, Education Tourism, has been added, while the Dining Category has been expanded to include food courts and food centres. The mayor explained that these new additions were because of KL’s growth as an international education hub and gastronomic centre. After a tough judging process, the panel of judges will determine which nominee deserves the Platinum Award (the highest level of excellence in each category), while the Gold Award will go to the second highest scoring nominee. Currently, nominations are open until 31 March 2017. Only shortlisted nominations will progress to the judging stage, which will be conducted from 7 April to 5 May. After the results are determined, they will be announced during a glamourous gala awards ceremony dinner on 24 May.