It's been a good few months since the indefatigable team behind GoKunming put on the seventh annual Best of Kunming Awards Gala, this year with the generous support of Keats School and hosted by Paulaner Brauhaus Kunming. On January 18, we celebrated the recognition of the 15 best businesses and travel destinations of Yunnan and Kunming — according to the Kunming community who voted for their favorite places in December. This year we added a new category: Best Cultural Venue.
A week after the event the Covid-19 virus caused most places in Kunming to close their doors for a long time. Until quite recently we didn't deem it appropriate highlight the event, but as businesses are once again welcoming customers we want to shine a light on them and invite you all to go and check out the best that Kunming has to offer.
Our Destination China video team created a video of the event, with an impression of the evening and short interviews with people who attended.
Celebrating the Best of Kunming
We'd like to look back at the lovely evening we had, back in January. Our special guests arrived early — Paulaner generously hosted a VIP dinner for the sponsors and winners of the Best of Kunming awards before the night kicked off.
Paulaner proved to be a great choice for a venue — long tables where guests could sit together but also an informal standing area nearby the bar in the back. There was plenty of opportunity to mingle and talk throughout the evening.
In the brief opening speech of the ceremony we touched upon the themes of the night. First and foremost, the event is a celebration of the successful businesses and all the places we love around Kunming and Yunnan. But we also wanted to highlight two aspects of life in Yunnan that make it such a special place to live — cultural diversity and sustainability.
Shortly before the official part of the awards ceremony, we kicked off with an energetic performance by the Rainbow Dance Troupe — a celebration of diversity that combined gorgeous cross-dressing and a traditional Dai minority dance. The Rainbow Dance Troupe is fronted by the leader of an LGBTQ+ awareness initiative, informing the gay community in Kunming about HIV prevention.
After the official ceremony was announced by the night's hosts Vera and Lexi, Yereth Jansen, CEO of GoKunming's parent company CloudBridge – Media by Design, delivered a speech that included last year's projects and a look ahead at what's in store for 2020.
Highlights included the launch of the website DestinationLijiang, our CEO's continuing collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, a new partnership with the Mekong Tourism Platform, the successful launch of PechaKucha in Kunming with a sold-out first edition in June last year and new productions from our Destination China video team.
2019 also saw the end of Patrick Scally's long run as GoKunming editor, and we thanked him for his excellent work for the Kunming community with a big round of applause.
Looking ahead, Yereth touched on continuing support for the international community and businesses in Yunnan, while looking at expanding the business further afield in China.
Throughout the evening, Smalls Paradise Swing Dance provided entertainment, with DJ Max — resident DJ at Vervo Club & Bar — spinning the wheels of steel.
The Best of Kunming Awards sponsors
This year we could once again thank a wide range of generous sponsors, who jointly donated more than 90,000 yuan worth of prizes for the Best of Kunming 2019-2020 award winners and the winners of the lucky draw. These were our generous sponsors and the fabulous prizes they donated:
Our top sponsor: Keats School
Keats School gave every attendee a voucher worth 100 yuan towards Chinese classes, and a voucher for a free coffee in the Keats Cafe at their brand new campus. Furthermore, they gave away a five-night stay in a Deluxe King room at the Keats Hotel in Lijiang.
Venue: Paulaner Bräuhaus
Paulaner Bräuhaus Kunming not only hosted the event in the atmospheric surroundings of the bar and brewery, but they gave every attendee a free beer worth 48 yuan. Prosit!
Raffle prize sponsors
Lanchie Dental Clinic donated more than 12,000 yuan in vouchers for dental treatment. Sparkly smiles all around!
Three other of our lucky draw prize winners won one-night stays at SilkTree Hotel Presidential Suite, valued at 10,000 yuan.
Yunnique graciously donated every attendee of the event a bag of their Yunnan-sourced coffee, produced with a lot of heart for the people who grow it.
Chef's Choice was not only this year's supplier of prosecco for the Best of Kunming Award winners, but also gave away almost 5,000 yuan worth of gourmet packages, including wine and top quality imported cheese and meat.
Xintuo Ecotourism and Wild Mountain provided a two-day and two-night trip of sightseeing and learning about the natural and cultural heritage of Lijiang Valley and the Lashi Wetlands, with experts in conservation and sustainable development. This eco-friendly trip is valued at 4,880 yuan.
Arro Khampa Hotel, located in the Old Town of Shangri-la, donated a romantic three-night stay with a Tibetan touch to one lucky couple, worth 3,500 yuan.
Sapore Italia contributed 2,480 yuan in Cantina and Sapore Italia vouchers to raffle. Mama mia!
Swag bag sponsors
Manlao River Coffee provided every winner of one of the Best of Kunming Awards with a bag of award-winning coffee. A winner deserves a winner, and the Best of Kunming award recipients deserve to be rewarded for their hard work with an excellent brew.
Dali Bar is committed to producing healthy energy bars and drinks using the best vegan and gluten-free ingredients that nature can provide. Dali Bar: live healthy, live happy. A nice addition to the swag bag of the Best of Kunming Award winners.
Finally, Hearts and Hands gave every winner of the Best of Kunming Awards a beautifully crafted gift.
Thank you as well to Barfly, Cantina, Salvador's Coffee House and Turtle Club for helping us sell advance tickets for the evening.
This year's winners
Then it was time to begin giving out the awards in our 15 categories, a complete list of which can be found here. Some of the winners have been taking the prize home for years in a row, but there were some new names too. To all of them, well done and congratulations.
It was a great night, made possible by the collaborative effort and hard work of dozens of people, a true reflection of the Kunming community spirit. Thank you to all of our sponsors and performers, as well as those who attended and everyone who took the time to vote for their favorites on GoKunming.
Special thanks to Mariana and Lexi for being the beautiful co-hosts of the evening, Frank and his Rainbow Dance Troupe and Charles and Tony and the Smalls Paradise Swing Dance for entertainment, DJ Max for his excellent tunes, Philippe for the drum rolls, Rene Xu for creating the design work, Dolly Du for live streaming the event, Giorgio Giacomelli for shooting the event, Rosa Oomen en Heleen Zijlstra for welcoming our guests and standing by, Ellie, Liping and Phillis for being all-round great assistants, and everyone in the Kunming international community for your ongoing support. We couldn't do it without any of you!
If you'd like to see even more pics from the night, check out our album on Facebook. After the summer we will start preparations for next year's Best of Kunming Awards. Stay tuned!
Thank you as usual for a great article - especially the bit on Smalls Paradise Swing Dance. Definitely drag the wifey there for date nite.
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