This site, the ‘Responsible Tourism Guide to the Mekong’ at has won the 2009 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award in the website category.

Gold Awards Winner 2009This year’s PATA Gold Awards program attracted 236 entries from 120 organisations worldwide. Each PATA Gold Award is judged by a panel of industry experts.

“This Award sends a message of support, encouragement, and inspiration to responsible tourism operators in the Mekong,” said Mekong Tourism Executive Director Mason Florence. “They now have an opportunity to be featured in a website that has been branded “Gold-class” by industry peers.”

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement (ACE) Project developed the site as part of its technical assistance to ASEAN- and Mekong-region tourism cooperation and integration.

ACE Project Director RJ Gurley said: “We wished to demonstrate that with sound advice and the right mix of user-friendly open-source technologies, small tourism operators can achieve competitive web standards with relatively low budgets.”

The ‘Responsible Tourism Guide to the Mekong’ site cost little more than US$1,000 to design and build. It was based on a responsible tourism guidebook published by the Mekong Tourism Development Project in 2008.