Southern Laos has won the PATA CEO Challenge Top Destination 2016 award. The prestigious award, presented by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), recognises the region as a top emerging tourist destination displaying unique and diverse culture and heritage.
In addition to bringing more attention to Southern Laos through the prestige of winning the award, the region will be provided with a digital marketing campaign worth USD 500,000 courtesy of TripAdvisor – putting the destination right in front of potential new visitors. The award will be handed over during the Travel Mart Exhibition in London on the 7th of November 2016 and will further boost the regions tourism potential.
With a wealth of natural, cultural and historical attractions, Southern Laos is an ideal destination for tourists searching for an enchanting and stimulating place that offers something that cannot be found anywhere else. Whether enjoying the natural beauty of the maze of islands in Si Phan Don, trekking and zip-lining through dense jungle forest or exploring the UNESCO World Heritage temple complex of Vat Phou, Southern Laos delivers a tourist destination unlike any other. Until very recently, however, Southern Laos was relatively undiscovered by all but the most adventurous of travellers.
Looking to bring this destination to the wider world and to increase income and employment opportunities for less advantaged people, Swisscontact, an independent Swiss based foundation for international development, started a tourism destination development project in 2013 encompassing interventions in the fields of skills development, marketing and promotion, product development and public-private destination management. The PATA CEO challenge award is one of the many fruits of a successful collaboration between the Provincial Departments of Information, Culture and Tourism (DICTs), the Provincial Private Sector Associations and Development Partners. Tim Gamper, the Country Manager for Swisscontact in Laos said,"We are absolutely thrilled about this prestigious award for Southern Laos. While this is certainly a great recognition for Swisscontacts work in collaboration with its public and private sector partners, it is much more a well-deserved recognition for a so far undiscovered gem of a tourism destination, a place that offers real experiences which travellers will not forget. We are confident that this award will serve as a great promoter not only for Southern Laos, but for the country of Laos as a whole."
At the heart of the success of the PATA award is Swisscontacts work with the travel and hotel branding specialists QUO, creating a fresh destination brand that reflects the region’s diversity, serenity, charm and relaxed approach to life. A logo evoking the Lao alphabet’s circular forms with the image of a fisherman in a long-tail boat, along with the slogan ‘Charming by nature’, captures the region’s traditions and connection with nature. An interactive and informative website (www.southern-laos.com) and an engaging video slide show help potential visitors explore the attractions on offer in the region.