Kerala Tourism sweeps PATA Awards 2011


Thiruvananthapuram, February 4: Kerala Tourism walked away with four of the top honours at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards 2011 for outstanding achievement in tourism announced in Bangkok on Thursday. Kerala Tourism’s new global campaign film ‘Your Moment is Waiting’ bagged an unprecedented three PATA Gold awards.

Kerala, which is the only Indian state to figure in the PATA awards this year, also picked up one of the four PATA Grand awards in the environment category for its ‘responsible tourism’ efforts in Kumarakom. PATA has  announced four Grand and 22 Gold awards this time and Kerala  is the only winner from India among the four prestigious PATA Grand awards. Kerala Tourism won three Gold awards making it the largest haul ever by a state government in the history of PATA awards. Prominent Kerala resort chain CGH Earth won the PATA Gold award in the Corporate Environmental Programme category for best eco-friendly practices, taking the awards tally for Kerala to five.

Expressing satisfaction, Kerala Tourism Minister Sri. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan remarked, "The Grand award puts an even greater responsibility on us to ensure that the achievements of Responsible Tourism in Kumarakom are sustained and taken to the next level to create a replicable model in tourism practices. The three awards for ‘Your Moment is Waiting’ signify the creative edge, which our marketing campaigns have been acclaimed for. But this is the first time that Kerala has won four international awards of significance. We are very proud of it."

Kerala Tourism’s film ‘Your Moment is Waiting’ won three PATA Gold awards in Marketing-Secondary Government Destination, Marketing Media-Travel Advertisement Broadcast Media and Marketing Media-Public Relations.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Dr Venu V said, “This is an unprecedented honour. It is a recognition of the hard work put in by the Kerala Tourism, its department, its associates and its agencies in managing the Kerala brand and devising an innovative marketing strategy.”

Kerala Tourism Director M Sivasankar said, "It is a remarkable achievement for Kerala and its tourism industry. Kerala Tourism has won several awards in the past, but it is the first time the department has swept the awards at an international level."

Kerala Tourism’s ‘responsible tourism’ initiative in Kumarakom and the film ‘Your Moment is Waiting’ came for much praise from the jury for its high quality and standards. Launched in September 2008, the ‘responsible tourism’ programme of Kerala was the first such initiative by a tourism board in the country. Under the project, ordinary people of Kumarakom worked with industry representatives like hotels and resorts, tour operators, travel agents, home-stay operators and souvenir shop owners, NGOs and government agencies to protect the environment in the high-profile destination. Some of the steps taken under the initiative were declaring Kumarakom a‘plastic-free zone’, organic farming, promotion of bicycle as a mode of transport, efforts to transform Kumarakom into a ‘waste-free area’ and green practices in hotels and resorts.

The three-minute film, ‘Your Moment is Waiting’, which had its world premiere at the Saatchi Gallery in London in September last year, was feted both by the media and the tourism industry for its subtle and surreal representation of the ethereal beauty of Kerala. The world premiere was attended by a galaxy of celebrities, including Ivory Coast football captain and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, former England striker Gary Linekar, current Olympic 400 metres women’s champion Christine Ohuruogu, British actor Bill Nighy and Indian-born British business tycoon Swaraj Paul.  Directed by Prakash Varma of Vadafone Zoo-Zoo fame, ‘Your Moment is Waiting’ was conceived by Stark Communications Pvt Ltd., which manages the international marketing and promotion of Kerala Tourism. The public relations of the film’s world premiere in London were handled by the Delhi-based media consultancy MD Niche. The London premiere of the film was also conceived and executed by Stark Communications Pvt Ltd.

Last week, Kerala had won the ‘Favourite Indian State’ award at the Outlook Traveller tourism awards 2010 besides the CNBC Awaaz Awards for the ‘most preferred destination’ and ‘best tourism board’ in September last year.

There were 223 entries from 102 organizations and individuals from the Asia Pacific region this year for the PATA awards. Kerala Tourism's four awards are  the maximum that any entity has got from 26 awards at stake.

Sponsored by the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO), the awards will be presented in Beijing on April 11 to coincide with PATA’s 60th anniversary celebrations. More than 500 travel industry executives from worldwide are expected to attend the awards ceremony.

“The year 2011 sees 26 PATA Grand and Gold Awards presented, with multiple awards going to Kerala Tourism as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and Tourism Australia,” said the award announcement in Bangkok.

Said Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, director, MGTO: “Our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners on receiving the Grand and Gold Awards. The winning entries this year have established another benchmark of excellence, innovation and advancement in the responsible development of travel and tourism.”