Albay, Philippines and Thekkady Named Top 25 Destinations

Albay (Philippines) – October 22, 2015 (travelindex) – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is honoured to announce the winners of the inaugural US$1 million PATA CEO Challenge 2015. The province of Albay, Philippines has been awarded the Top Destination Award in the category of Regions/States/Provinces. Thekkady, Kerala, India has been granted the Top Destination Award in the category of Second and Third Tier Cities.

The two winning entries will work with PATA CEO Challenge 2015 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 2015 Top Destinations awards will be presented at the forthcoming PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on Monday, November 2 in the presence of guest of honour UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, as well as other high-level dignitaries and senior executives from TripAdvisor.

“It was difficult to choose only two winners, as we received some excellent submissions from destinations both near and far. All the submissions had unique stories that every traveller should get to know and experience,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “The two winning submissions had the most authentic, culturally diverse and innovative offerings but needed the most assistance in helping promote these assets.”

A dedicated team at TripAdvisor will work with both winners on creating marketing campaigns designed to ensure that they are effectively utilising 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.

Martin Verdon-Roe, VP Global Display Sales, TripAdvisor said, “As the world’s largest travel site, we take great pride in promoting wonderful travel destinations to our global travel community. Working with PATA on the PATA CEO Challenge, we are very pleased to be supporting the two winning destinations, Albay, Philippines and Thekkady, Kerala, India, who both have fantastic tourism offerings that we will now work together on to showcase their story to the world.”

The PATA CEO Challenge 2015, which attracted entries from a broad range of destinations, embraces the uniqueness and diversity of heritages, cultures, customs and natural beauty of many destinations in line with the theme of this year’s PATA Advocacy Dinner in London. 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 fourth Aligned Advocacy Dinner at Stationers’ Hall in London, United Kingdom will be held on November 2, the first night of World Travel Market 2015. The invitation-only dinner, with the theme “The Dispersion of Tourists”, will highlight the current issue of the disproportionate growth of tourism, as well as provide guests the opportunity to reflect on the importance of the need for both the public and private sectors to work together for the responsible development of these emerging destinations.

The two winners will also receive other benefits including a complimentary pass to the PATA Annual Summit 2016 in Guam, USA on May 18-21, free stand space at PATA Travel Mart 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia from September 7-9 and extensive international brand exposure through a variety of well-established PATA communications channels.

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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 87 government, state and city tourism bodies, 25 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 59 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 41 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. Visit

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