The Marianas Visitors Authority’s tour guide certification program has been awarded the 2018 PATA Gold Award, as announced on July 18, 2018, by the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
This year’s awards, again supported and sponsored by the Macao Government Tourism Office, attracted 200 entries from 87 organizations and individuals worldwide. The winners were selected by an independent judging committee consisting of 14 senior executives from the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. The MVA’s award was presented under the category of Education and Training.
“This is a tremendous honor for the MVA and the Marianas as a whole to have won this PATA Gold Award. To have won it among 200 other competitors is humbling,” said MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion.
“This program [Official Marianas Guide] has been in the books for many, many years and we finally were able to roll it out a couple years ago with great success,” he added. “We thank all those involved from this program’s infancy to what it is today for their hard work and perseverance. We thank our partners at Northern Marianas College for carrying out the training portion of this program. I want to especially thank our Tour Guide Certification manager and our entire team at the MVA for a job well done. This program is still new and there is still a long way to go to get everyone into compliance, to streamline the process for new and existing guides and operators, but we will get there slowly but surely.”
The PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Environment, Heritage and Culture; and Education and Training.
“The program could not have been possible without the unwavering support from the community, government agencies, and the Legislature,” said MVA Tour Guide Certification program manager Kuen-Hee Han. “There was so much input from many individuals, including historian Genevieve Cabrera and NMC staff. The award demonstrates if we believe, it can become reality.”
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office said, “This year’s PATA Gold Awards winners present us with yet another wide array of remarkable accomplishments in the different branches of the tourism industry. MGTO is honored to help facilitate this PATA awards program, which for the past over two decades has been bringing into the limelight so many exceptional contributions, inspiring tourism stakeholders throughout the Asia Pacific region to build a vibrant whilst sustainable tourism industry.”
Dr. Mario Hardy, PATA CEO, added, “On behalf of PATA, I would like to congratulate the 2018 PATA Grand and Gold Award winners, as well as all of this year’s participants for their submissions. This year’s winners exemplify the true values of the association in working toward a more responsible travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region.”
The awards ceremony will take place in Langkawi, Malaysia on Sept. 14 during PATA Travel Mart 2018.
This year’s judging committee was composed of Abdulla Ghiyas, deputy managing director, Inner Maldives Holidays, Maldives; Benjamin Ping-Yao Liao, chairman, Forte Hotel Group, Chinese Taipei; Dr. Joby Thomas, associate professor, School of Business Studies and Social Sciences, Christ University, India; Margaret Wilson, managing director, C-MW Management, Australia; Matthew Zatto, vice president of Tourism, ADARA, Australia; Natasha Martin, managing director, Bannikin Asia, Hong Kong SAR; Nicholas Yeap, VP, Sales & Marketing, FLEXIROAM Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia; Nobutaka Ishikure, chairman, Goltz et ses amis, Japan; Paul Pasquale, content manager, Red Robot Communications (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore; Peter Semone, founder and president, Destination Human Capital Limited, Ireland; Randy Durband, CEO, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Thailand; Samantha Hague, general manager, Red Robot Communications (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore; Stephanie A Wells, MSC co-chair, School of Tourism Management, Capilano University, Canada; and Soon-Hwa Wong, founder and CEO, Asia Tourism Consulting Pte Ltd, Singapore.
In 2000 the Marianas’ Saipanda Destination Program was awarded the PATA Gold Award in the National Marketing Program – Under $1 Million category. (MVA)