Southern Laos and Meishan, China Win PATA CEO Challenge

Southern Laos and Meishan, China Win PATA CEO Challenge

Bangkok (Thailand) – October 17, 2016 – ( – A province in Lao PDR and the city of Meishan in China are the winners of the US$1 million PATA CEO Challenge 2016. Southern Laos receives the Top Destination Award in the category of ‘Regions/States/Provinces’. The People’s Government of Meishan, Sichuan, China is granted the Top Destination Award in the category of ‘Second and Third Tier Cities’.

The two winning entries will work with PATA CEO Challenge 2016 partner TripAdvisor to develop and create digital marketing campaigns 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 Dr. 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 both 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.

About PATA
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 98 government, state and city tourism bodies, 21 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 68 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 40 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which includes ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, WEF, UNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney and London.