Mario Hardy, CEO PATA: “I Feel Satisfied By The First PATA CEO Challenge”

PATA launched last June its PATA CEO Challenge, a contest which is aiming to reward new and emerging destinations. The challenge benefits from an exclusive partnership with TripAdvisor.

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The two winning entries will get support from TripAdvisor in developing and creating a digital marketing campaign to showcase their destination to a global audience, valued at US$500,000 each. In addition, the winners will be honoured at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London, United Kingdom in early November, just a few days before the start of World Travel Market.

Registration is closed since the end of September and according to Mario Hardy, the PATA CEO, this first edition run well.

“I really feel satisfied as we received applications from 17 candidates. Half of the entrants came from the Pacific area and the other half from Asia beside one entrant which is originated from North America”, tells Hardy.

“We started relatively late- in June with consequently, a very short time to register and prepare a presentation to be submitted. What is very encouraging is the fact that most entrants are not PATA members”, adds Mario Hardy.

A panel of five judges -including three from TripAdvisor and two from PATA- is due to give its final judgment within the next week or two. Judging criteria were the destination’s accessibility, its cultural diversity, tourism services and products, the real needs for a promotion campaign and the existing structures or bodies dedicated to tourism promotion.

“We will certainly renew the CEO Challenge in 2016, probably by simplifying participation criteria to drag more entrants. And we are also thinking to allow small islands to participate. However the decision will be taken with PATA members of the board”, tells Mario Hardy.

The winners are soon to be known but no name has so far filtered out of PATA offices…