Ecuador's capital, Quito, was named "South America's Leading Destination" for the second year in a row at the 21st regional World Travel Awards gala, considered the Oscars of the tourism industry.

"We are the leading destination in South America, an honor that opens the door for tourists to come and enjoy its marvels," Quito Mayor Mauricio Rodas said during the awards ceremony on Saturday night.

Quito offers beautiful architecture and friendly people, Rodas said.

"It has been an honor to host our annual South & Central America Gala Ceremony here in Quito, Ecuador. From the moment we arrived we have been made to feel at home by the members of Quito Tourism, and their professionalism, endeavor and initiative are the envy of the world," World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke said.

Peru was named "South America's Leading Heritage Destination 2014," and also took the honors as "South America's Leading Cultural Destination" and "South America's Leading Culinary Destination" at the awards ceremony at the Centro Cultural Itchimbia in Quito.

"We have seen some regional leaders recognized here tonight and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to them all. World Travel Awards voters have cast their ballots and selected the best in South American tourism. I look forward to greeting all of our winners in Morocco for the Grand Final in November," Cooke said.

Medellin, the capital of the northwestern Colombian province of Antioquia, won the award as "South America's Leading Meetings & Conference Destination."

Ecuador also won in the "South America's Leading Green Destination" and "South America's Leading Tourist Board" categories.

More than 300 tourism industry representatives from around the Americas attended the gala.

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