PATA CEO Challenge

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pataceochallenge-winner_meishan pataceochallenge-winner_southern-laos


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.

For more information, please email [email protected].





There are two distinct categories for entry.

  1. State, region, province and country
    In addition to provinces such as Shandong, China; regions such as Northern Thailand; and states such as Queensland in Australia, entries are also accepted from nations and individual island destinations that attract less than 100,000 international visitor arrivals in a calendar year (as measured by the UNWTO).
  2. Second tier and third tier cities
    This clearly does not include capital cities such as Bangkok, Beijing or Kuala Lumpur but does includes regional cities such as Chiang Rai in Thailand, Guilin in China and Legazpi, Philippines.


Two awards will be given as follows:

  • PATA CEO Challenge Top Destination 2016 – State, region, province and country
  • PATA CEO Challenge Top Destination 2016 – Second tier/third tier city 



  • Digital marketing campaign to promote PATA CEO Challenge Top destination 2016 presented to the winning entry in category 1 by TripAdvisor worth US$500,000
  • Digital marketing campaign to promote PATA CEO Challenge Top destination 2016 presented to the winning entry in category 2 by TripAdvisor worth US$500,000
  • TripAdvisor will work with winners to develop a digital marketing campaign with assets provided by the winning entrants.  Each winner will have the support of a dedicated team at TripAdvisor who will work with them in the planning and structuring of a digital marketing campaign.  The digital marketing campaign will be developed within a 2 month timeframe after the award ceremony for launch in 2017. In other words, each winner will need to prepare a set of items to present their destination’s tourism assets and provide support to TripAdvisor team by December 31, 2016.  Failure to provide the marketing assets within the timeframe will be deemed as a forfeiture of the digital marketing campaign.
  • Winner (One representative) from each category will be presented with the PATA CEO Challenge Top Destination Award during a prestigious ceremony at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner on November 7, 2016 in London, United Kingdom, as part of PATA’s World Travel Market programme of activities. The presentation will be made in the presence of many international travel and tourism industry influencers and leaders
  • Winners of all categories will receive exposure in the following PATA Communications channels:
    – PATA Conversations (PATA quarterly e-magazine distributed to over 20,000 subscribers)
    – PATA Voice (PATA weekly e-newsletter distributed to over 20,000 subscribers)
    – PATA press releases distributed to worldwide media
    – PATA website
    – PATA social media channels such as Facebook
  • Each winner (one representative from each category) also receives a complimentary pass to the PATA Annual Summit 2017 in Negombo, Sri Lanka and PATA Travel Mart 2017 (date and venue TBC). Winners are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses
  • The PATA CEO Challenge ‘Top Destination’ logo is provided to the winner in each category for use in collateral and promotional materials, websites and other communications channels

Award presentation ceremony

  • The winners’ representatives are entitled to bring one accompanying person the awards ceremony in London on a complimentary basis. Travel and accommodation costs are at the winner’s own expense
  • Each winner receives a commemorative trophy. Additional trophies may be ordered at a cost of US$200 net each