Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam decide to cooperate in effort to stimulate the local hospitality industry
AIMING to highlight the commitment of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to strive for service excellence in their tourism and hospitality industries, the first Tourism Alliance Awards (TAA 2009) took place on October 1 at the Phu Tho Exhibition Centre in Vietnam.
The event was co-organised by the Vietnam Tourism Association, the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, the Cambodia Hotel Association, the Lao Association of Travel Agents and IIR Exhibitions Pte Ltd, and supported by each country’s respective tourist board.
Dignitaries from all three countries attended the inaugural event, including Pak Sokhom, undersecretary of state at the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism. Tran Chien Thang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism spoke of his hopes that the awards would serve as encouragement for regional tourism industry professionals.
In total, more than 100 nominations were received for the 10 awards categories presided over by an international panel of judges, including high-flying industry players like Michel Van Der Hoeven, senior vice president of development at Minor International PCL, and Michael Loh, president of the International Medical Spa Association.
Among the local winners were Nest Angkor Bar, which won Cambodian Restaurant of the Year. Inspired by venues in New York, Sydney and Miami and the brainchild of owner Cheng Socheat and hotelier and restaurateur Joseph Polito, Nest was planned as a design-driven al fresco space on dusty Sivutha Boulevard in Siem Reap.
Winner of Cambodia’s Resort Hotel of the Year was The Pavilion, which offers colonial architecture, free Wi-Fi and a poolside tree-filled garden oasis for US$50-$80 a night on Phnom Penh’s Street 19.
The hotel’s owner, Alexis de Suremain, also offers an additional brace of quality boutique options: Kabiki, dedicated to families, on Street 264; and The Blue Lime, with its solar-powered water heating, on Street 19z, just across from the Royal Institute of Fine Arts.
Meanwhile, Asia Explorer Travel was awarded local Outbound Travel Operator of the Year, and Intrepid Cambodia Ltd, the Inbound Travel Operator of the Year.