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 cultures and heritages.
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 can be found nowhere else. Whether enjoying the natural beauty of the maze of islands in Si Phan Don, leisurely floating down the Mekong River, trekking and zip-lining through dense jungle or exploring the UNESCO World Heritage temple complex of Vat Phou, Southern Laos delivers a tourist destination unlike any other. However, until very recently Southern Laos was relatively undiscovered by all but the most adventurous of tourists.
Looking to bring this destination to the wider world, in 2015 Swisscontact, an independent foundation for international development cooperation, brought together a coalition of public, private and civil society organisations in a destination management network (DMN) to create income and job opportunities for the local population through a more competitive tourism sector.
As part of this effort, Swisscontact hired travel and hotel branding specialists QUO to create a fresh destination brand that would reflect the region’s diversity, serenity, charm and relaxed approach to life. The result was the creation of a destination where tourists don’t just find a place but find life-changing new experiences.
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. Meanwhile, 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.
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.
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 Swisscontact’s work in collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders, 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 travelers 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.¨
Talking about the award win, QUO’s CEO, David Keen, said, “Winning the PATA CEO Challenge Top Destination 2016 award is a fantastic endorsement of the work done by all involved in bringing the charms of the Southern Laos region to the attention of the world.” Adding that, “The region has a truly stunning variety of natural and cultural attractions that captivate visitors and craft unforgettable experiences, and we wanted to clearly express this in the new brand. We are immensely proud to have been a part of educating the world about Southern Laos.”