Palau’s Airai State Cultural Tour won the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award along with 28 other destinations for its promotion of community-based tourism.

PATA announced the winners on July 15, revealing four PATA Grand awardees and 29 Gold awardees who will be given the accolades during the PATA Travel Mart 2019 to be held on September 19 in Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan.

Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) Chairman Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl said that winning the PATA Gold Award gives a major boost to their marketing and public relations profile.

Tmetuchl said that the winning entries will be featured in the PATA Travel Mart’s daily magazine, hence exposing Palau to the international media in the form of press releases and other news materials.

PVA Managing Director Stephanie Nakamura, in another interview, also stressed the importance of highlighting the Alii Pass Progam, the PVA’s program in collaboration with the states in which the Airai Cultural Tour is a part of, since it is through this that Palau can share its “true hospitality.”

According to the PATA press statement, a total of 197 entries from different countries of the globe had been submitted for the awarding event where winners had been picked by the independent judging committee.

The four PATA grand awardees are the ASSET-H&C of Thailand, Elephant Hills still of Thailand, India Heritage Walks of Sahapedia, India, and the Experience Macao Food Truck USA of the Macao Government Tourism Office of Macao, China.

The PATA Awards is supported and sponsored by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) since 1995.

In a press statement, MGTO Director Helena de Senna Fernandes was quoted saying that the winners’ initiatives “hold the power to generate positive change in tourism practices in the Asia Pacific.”

“By helping PATA set up this stage to showcase some of the best projects in the region each year, we believe that we are influencing the tourism industry towards a more innovative and sustainable path,” Fernandes said. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)