Southern Laos, One of the two Winners of PATA CEO Challenge 2016

Champassak village in Southern Laos

Southern Laos was distinguished as a winner of the PATA CEO Challenge 2016 and will share the award and the marketing support of TripAdvisor with the other winner, Meishan (Sichuan, China).

The second PATA CEO Challenge is due to go to one destination within ASEAN. Southern Laos received the Top Destination Award in the category of ‘Regions/States/Provinces’. The city of Meishan in China was granted the Top Destination Award in the category of ‘Second and Third Tier Cities’.

Southern Laos will work with PATA CEO Challenge 2016 partner TripAdvisor to develop and create a digital marketing campaign to showcase their destination to a global audience, valued at US$500,000 each.

The PATA CEO Challenge 2016 Top Destinations awards will be presented at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on Monday, November 7, 2016 in the historic setting of Clothworkers’ Hall. The dinner will be held in the presence of Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO and Ms. Lela Krstevska, Government of the Republic of Macedonia who will be the keynote speaker. Other high-level dignitaries, senior executives from TripAdvisor and a very broad cross section of travel and tourism industry professionals will also be in attendance.

“We received some excellent submissions this year and it was extremely difficult to choose a winner from each category. Each entry was assessed objectively and independently and the final choices were decided upon by a very small margin,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “The two winning submissions were assessed to have the most authentic, culturally diverse and innovative offerings. They will undoubtedly benefit hugely from the advice and expertise provided by TripAdvisor.”

A dedicated team at TripAdvisor will work with winners on creating marketing campaigns designed to ensure that they are utilising effectively the digital environment to encourage travellers to visit their destination.

They will also benefit from TripAdvisor’s wealth of knowledge, experience and proven global digital penetration. The company will also support the winners by helping small and local hospitality businesses to get listed on TripAdvisor.

Sarah Matthews, TripAdvisor’s Head of Destination Marketing for Asia Pacific said, “We were very impressed with the submissions from Southern Laos and the city of Meishan – they showed how involved their communities are in all that they do for tourism. We look forward to working with them to showcase these two incredible destinations to global travellers who want to discover new and amazing places.”

The PATA CEO Challenge 2016, which attracted entries from a broad range of destinations, embraces the uniqueness and diversity of heritages, cultures, customs and natural beauty of many destinations. It aims to promote and enhance the number of visitors to emerging destinations (regions, states and provinces, and second-tier/third tier towns and cities), and to enhance tourism development in a sustainable manner.

The two winners will also receive other benefits including a complimentary pass to the PATA Annual Summit 2017 in Negombo, Sri Lanka and PATA Travel Mart 2017 in Macao SAR, as well as extensive international brand exposure through a variety of well-established PATA communications channels.