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Experience is all: Pandaw founder shortlisted for top travel award

AUG 22, 2016 – Pandaw is delighted to announce that Paul Strachan, who launched Pandaw River Expeditions back in 1995 with his wife Roser, is one of five "visionaries" shortlisted by PURE Life Experiences, the global trade network for the high-end experiential travel industry, for his "Contribution to Experiential Travel".

Paul's inclusion in this category, along with four other trail-blazers from around the world, recognises Pandaw's success in opening up a whole new world of high-end adventure travel in Asia's least-explored regions.

The short listing marks the fact that, for over two decades, Pandaw's vision has enabled thousands of passengers to explore the stunning Asian riverine landscapes, monuments and social environments previously inaccessible to foreign travellers.

As the winner will partly be decided by a popular vote, Pandaw fans everywhere are encouraged to visit the PURE Awards website and vote for Paul!

The PURE judges explained; "When it came to Contribution to Experiential Travel, our panel were looking for individuals whose efforts have directly influenced the development of the experiential travel movement – true mavericks whose commitment, curiosity and daring sets new standards for the industry at large."

Pandaw nominated for Pure travel award

Responding to the news of the shortlisting, Paul Strachan said, "It's a great honour even to be nominated for this award, and I'm especially proud to be included alongside these distinguished industry pioneers from around the world."

"Pandaw's success is based on the hard work and creativity of a talented team of people, often operating in very complex and dynamic environments. I see this shortlisting as a tribute to the hard work of all of our staff in the Pandaw operation. They are dedicated to ensuring that our passengers experience the expedition of a lifetime onboard our unique Pandaw ships. The feedback we get from our guests encourages us to go on innovating and exploring and building the unique Pandaw experience."

The other nominees for the Lifetime achievement award are Keith Vincent, CEO of Wilderness Safaris in East Africa, Louisa "Choppy" Patterson, who creates luxury, helicopter excursions in New Zealand, Mei Zhang whose website Newugo connects travellers with rural Chinese communities and Roque Sevilla, who has conserved jungle environment for travellers in his native Ecuador.

The winner will announced at an awards party in Marrakech on September 13, 2016, at the highlight's of PURE's annual trade event.

PURE's Awards, which also have categories for conservation and sustainability, community engagement and innovative marketing, are judged by a top team of travel experts, including Lucia Van Der Post, Founding Editor of the Financial Times' How To Spend It magazine and a Times columnist, Catherine Fairweather, Travel Director of global fashion magazine Porter and Gisela Williams, European correspondent for Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure.


Update: Big thanks to all those who voted for Paul and Pandaw but sorry to say that he did not win. Instead the prize went to the amazing Roque Sevilla, the Ecuadorian entrepreneur and hotelier-turned-travel conservationist, who was rightly honoured for realising his dream of expanding 1400 hectares of primary forest in Ecuador’s Choco region by lobbying for the creation of a 17200-hectare protected zone. A worthy winner in other words!


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