Jakarta — The 30th ASEANTA Awards for Excellence 2017 has been held at Borobudur Hotel in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (08/08). Initiated by tourism practitioners in ASEAN countries, the annual award consisted of six categories. Indonesia had to compete with Thailand and the Philippines to host the event. “The award is usually given to winners of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in the beginning of the year. But this time it has its own event,” said the Association of Air Ticketing Companies in Indonesia (Astindo) general secretary Pauline Suharno, who also serves as the association’s representative at ASEANTA. Among the winners at the event were Garuda Indonesia as Best ASEAN airlines program; Garuda Indonesia as Best Asean cultural preservation effort; Agung Parameswara’s Mount Bromo picture as Best ASEAN tourism photo; Singapore Airlines’ SPH magazine as the Best ASEAN travel article; AirAsia as the Best ASEAN marketing and promotional campaign; and Myanmar’s Shan Yoma Travel and Tours as the Best ASEAN new tourism attraction. Prior to the awarding night, the ASEANTA meeting was held on August 6-7, which was joined by tourism associations in Southeast Asia including AHRA, airlines, FATA and ASEANTA Board Members, followed by a dinner hosted by DKI Jakarta administration alongside top agent airlines, media and ASEANTA board at the City Hall. After the awarding night, 84 people from travel agents, tour operators, travel journalists and awardees from ASEAN countries, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and India were invited by six airlines (Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Royal Brunei and AirAsia) to participa in a familiarization trip on August 9-11 to Jakarta, Belitung, Bandung, Solo, Yogyakarta, Bali and Malang. Last year Wonderful Indonesia tourism brand earned 46 awards given by 22 countries, three of them were ASEANTA Awards 2016 for the best ASEAN tourism photo, the best ASEAN travel article and the best ASEAN cultural preservation effort categories. “Wonderful Indonesia brand campaign has improved Indonesia’s tourism performance as evidenced by the popularity of Wonderful Indonesia that went up to the 47th spot in the world ranking, beating out Malaysia Truly Asia and Amazing Thailand in the 83rd and 97th spot, respectively,” Arief added.