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Tahoe No.1 on travel Web site

RENO, Nev. (AP) Lake Tahoe ranks first in the nation among choice vacation destinations newly ranked by the major travel Web site, TripAdvisor.com.The independent worldwide travel source put Lake Tahoe atop the list of its first Choice Destinations Awards, based on the opinions of millions of travelers. Tahoe ranked 10th worldwide.It is a testament to the beauty of Lake Tahoe, of how appealing it is in all four seasons, said Tim Maland, director of the Nevada Commission on Tourism.Winners were determined by a combination of TripAdvisor travelers favorite places and overall popularity on TripAdvisor.Big Sur, Calif., was ranked second in the U.S. followed by San Francisco, Poipu, Hawaii and Sedona, Ariz.New Orleans was ranked sixth, ahead of Carmel, Calif.; Napa, Calif.; Lahaina, Hawaii and La Jolla, Calif.It is obviously a great accolade for the destination, said Andy Chapman, director of tourism for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. Most importantly, it comes from people who have been here.TripAdvisor is a social network. It is all about people gauging and voting and giving others their thoughts about their trips to the destinations. So, having the visitors and travels who have actually been here give us that kind of ranking in the world and the No. 1 ranking in the U.S. is very good for us, he said.Tops in the world were Milford Sound, New Zealand; Queenstown, New Zealand; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Cayo Largo, Cuba.Whether its the unique beauty or abundance of attractions, the 2008 Travelers Choice Destinations Awards honor the most beloved destinations from around the world, said Michele Perry, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor. Determined by millions of travelers, the Travelers Choice Destinations Awards are unique because they single out not just popular places but truly exceptional places that enthrall travelers and keep them coming back.Lake Tahoes ranking will help market the area as the Reno-Tahoe region enters its busiest tourist season, Maland said.We will use this as a third-party endorsement about the beauty of Lake Tahoe, Maland said. The regional marketing committee and the individual properties will refer to it as well as the RSCVA (Reno-Tahoe Convention andamp; Visitors Authority) and the (Reno-Tahoe International) airport.Everyone in the region will use it to some extent because it is a great statement, Maland said. It will be used in advertising and public relations releases, too. So, I think you will hear about it from a lot of sources.Lake Tahoe is also popular with those frequenting Orbitz.com, Chapman said. Last winter, Lake Tahoe as ranked as the No. 1 destination for hotel and vacation packages booked by travelers at Orbitz.com for travel between Nov. 20, 2007, and May 1.This will certainly help give us more exposure, Chapman said.


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