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Highlighting the issues of sustainability and social responsibility at the PATA Annual Summit 2019

The PATA Annual Summit 2019 (PAS 2019), under the theme ‘Progress with a Purpose’, opened in Cebu, Philippines on May 9 with 383 delegates from 194 organisations and 43 destinations attending the four-day event. Delegates also included local and international students, as well as student chapter representatives, from 21 educational institutions hailing from eighteen destinations.

Generously hosted by the Department of Tourism, Philippines, the event included the Association’s executive and advisory board meetings, annual general meeting (AGM), PATA Youth Symposium, PATA Insights Lounge, the UNWTO/PATA Leaders Debate and a one-day conference that highlighted the fundamental challenges, issues and opportunities of the travel and tourism industry and how the industry working together can bring about actionable change for a better future.

“The need for demonstrated leadership in the travel and tourism industry has never been more critical. As an industry, we are grappling with large scale global and regional challenges including climate change, overtourism and the resulting strain on infrastructure, as well as and social and economic inequality in many destinations, which will require a new type of leadership from truly progressive entities,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “This year’s PATA Annual Summit, with the theme ‘Progress with a Purpose’ not only examined the issues and challenges affecting our industry but also challenged our delegates to take action and address these problems directly.”

During the one-day conference on May 10, delegates were given the unique opportunity to hear from Airbnb Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chairman of Airbnb China, Nathan Blecharczyk, who sat down for a special one-on-one interview with BBC World News Presenter, Rico Hizon.

Sponsored by the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF), the opening keynote on the ‘State of the World Economy’ was delivered by Dr. Andrew Staples, Global Editorial Director at The Economist Corporate Network. He shared the latest macroeconomic forecasts for the global economy from The Economist Intelligence Unit before identifying the longer-term opportunities and challenges facing the Asia Pacific region

During the day, delegates also heard from a diverse line-up of international thought leaders and industry shapers on various topics including ‘The Current and Future State of Travel and Tourism in Asia Pacific’, ‘Navigating the Numbers’, ‘Travelling the Unknown to Find Yourself’, ‘Destination Management in Times of Uncertainty’, ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Tourism’, ‘The Power of Data and Insights for Responsible Development’, ‘Accessible Tourism for All’, and ‘The Future of Sustainable Destination Branding’.

Other speakers at the event included Al Merschen, Partner – Myriad Travel Marketing; Arturo P. Boncato, Jr., Undersecretary, Tourism Regulation Coordination & Resource Generation – Department of Tourism, Philippines; Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel Research – Euromonitor International; Haitham Mattar, CEO – Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; Jamilla Angela H. Aquino, President – Deafinite Tour Guiding Services; Jason Wang, Executive Director – Global Tourism Economy Research Centre and COO – Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF); Professor John Koldowski, Special Advisor to the CEO – PATA and Professor, School of Tourism – Leshan Normal University, Sichuan Province, China; Josie Costales, Chairperson and Founder – Costales Nature Farms; Maria Paz Alberto, President – Ark Travel Express; Martin Heng, Accessible Travel Manager & Editorial Advisor – Lonely Planet; Maja Pak, Director General – Slovenian Tourist Board; Mike Corey, Presenter – The Travel Show, BBC World News; Oliver Martin, Partner – Twenty31; Robin Yap, Chairman Emeritus – The Travel Corporation (TTC); Ronen Spivak, Vice President, Retail & Commerce APAC, Data & Services – Mastercard; and TJ Grundl-Hong, Founder & CEO – Epikurean Hotels & Lifestyle.

As part of the PAS 2019 programme, PATA once again organised the UNWTO/PATA Leaders Debate in partnership with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on May 11. The debate, moderated by BBC World News Presenter Rico Hizon, focused on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations (UN) and which SDG could the travel and tourism industry make the biggest impact. Airbnb was the Official Debate Topic partner for the event.

Datuk Musa Hj Yusof, Director General, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia), Malaysia and Abdulla Ghiyas, PATA Face of the Future 2018 and Vice President, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), Maldives chose Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, while Josefa Tuamoto, CEO, Tourism Solomons, Solomons Island and Flori-Anne Dela Cruz, PATA Face of the Future 2019 and Board Director, Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam, USA chose Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. In the end, the audience was split evenly between the two groups, however the aim of the debate was to further highlight the importance of the SDGs and the interconnected relationships between all 17 Goals.

Photos from the event are available to view on the PATA Flickr page, while video from key presentations can be found on the PATA YouTube Channel.

Presentations from the speakers can be view at www.PATA.org/event/pata-annual-summit-2019/?tab=speakers.

Read about the top ten takeaways at the one-day conference at: http://bit.ly/2Hvhb8z.

The PATA Annual Summit 2020 will take place in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). For more information, visit www.PATA.org/PAS or email events@PATA.org.

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