Lleida, SPAIN – The province of Lleida in Spain’s Catalan region is hosting its 20th annual Pica D’Estats, an international tourism award, and this year is increasing prize monies to 45,000 euros. Prizes are awarded to pieces featuring the Lleida province in nine categories ranging from print, radio, TV, photography, and a new addition this year of Internet media. American journalists are eligible for “best international press report.” Prizes are valued at 3,000 to 6,000 euros.

To be considered, editorial features must be published or disseminated between the dates of October 18, 2007 and October 17, 2008 and be submitted by November 18, 2008. Entries in all languages are accepted. The jury is composed of distinguished members of Catalonia’s media and tourism industries. Authors, or those who can demonstrate consent of the authors, are encouraged to apply. Complete guidelines and an application form can be found on www.lleidatur.com/pica. Winners will be announced on January 31, 2009.

Americans are beginning to venture further into Catalonia, and Lleida certainly deserves to become better known. The province offers something for culture mavens and outdoor enthusiasts. Its art and architecture is world renowned with the UNESCO World Heritage site with El Valle de Boí considered to contain Europe’s most important concentration of Romanesque art. The city of Lleida also contains architectural treasures ranging from Roman and Medieval to Modernist. Its glorious Romanesque and Gothic cathedral sits on a hill dominating the city.

The province of Lleida is also one of Spain’s leaders in adventure sports. It encompasses Catalonia’s only national park Aigüestortes y Estany de Sant Maurici, with its rivers valued for white water rafting experiences and 500 lakes. Other sports offered in the region include kayaking, paragliding, hiking, cycling, and fishing. It is also home to Baqueira-Beret, one of Spain’s leading ski resorts. Wine and food lovers will enjoy exploring Lleida’s countryside and its fine wines denoted Designation of Origin Costers del Segre.