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Pacific Asia Travel Association

PATA names 2011 Face of the Future winner

Mar 09, 2011

BANGKOK, Thailand - The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is delighted to announce that Tavalea Nilon of Samoa is the winner of the 2011 "Face of the Future" competition.

She was selected from a group of six finalists, with Sitpasu Thongsuk of Thailand and Hsu Htet Hlaing of Myanmar announced as runners-up.

Each of the finalists was required to put forward their views on the future of the tourism industry via a five-minute video presentation. The videos were judged by members of the PATA Executive Board during a meeting in Hawaii at the end of February.

This followed the first round of the competition, where nominated candidates were voted for online by PATA members.

There was a unanimous agreement by the panel of judges that Nilon’s video excelled in both presentation and content. Focusing on some of the key challenges facing Samoa’s tourism industry in the future, she highlighted the need for renewable energy options, better waste disposal methods, and promoting the country as a culturally-rich destination.

Said Hiran Cooray, chairman, PATA, said: ‚ÄúThe PATA Executive Board [was] highly impressed by all six finalists, however, Tavalea‚Äôs video stood out. She showed a genuine understanding of the challenges faced by her small island nation, as well as the role she can play in helping to address them.‚ÄĚ

Originally nominated for the competition by the Samoa Tourism Authority, Nilon is "Miss Samoa 2010" and has worked hard to promote the island nation nationally and internationally through tourism exchanges and festivals. She is involved with various community projects and is currently studying for a Masters’ degree in engineering. With a deep love for her environment, people, and country, she has been described as a natural advocate for Samoa.

She will now be honored at a special awards ceremony at the PATA 60th Anniversary and Conference, April 9-12, at the China World Hotel, Beijing. She will also have the opportunity to participate in a plenary session alongside luminaries such as senior government officials and industry leaders from across the spectrum of PATA membership.

Each year, "Face of the Future" spotlights an individual, 35 years old or younger, who has worked to change or advance travel and tourism in Asia Pacific.

For further information, visit or email .

PATA names 2011 Face of the Future winner
Tavalea Nilon / Image via


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