The PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2020 began on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, attracting 368 delegates from 33 destinations in attendance for the three-day niche event with international delegates comprising 40% of the total. Encompassing a one-day-travel mart and one-day conference, the B2B trade mart on Friday, February 14 will welcome 51 seller organisations from 9 destinations and 45 buyer organisations from 21 source markets.
The event, which is organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and hosted by Tourism Malaysia and supported by Sabah Tourism and Malaysia Airlines, brought together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry to explore the nuances, trends and dynamics of one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors.
On Thursday, February 13, delegates will hear from a diverse line-up of speakers at the one-day conference under the theme ‘Ahead of the Curve: Authenticity and Sustainability in Adventure’. The innovators and pioneers, who are shaping the emerging landscape of the adventure travel industry, will examine various conference topics that cover ‘State of Adventure Tourism’, ‘Who Are Our Adventure Tourists?’, ‘Creating Meaningful Adventures’, ‘Sustainable Elephant Experiences’, ‘How to Use Responsible Travel Initiatives to Attract Adventure Tourists’, and ‘Starting Small: How to Integrate Adventure Elements into Your Tour.’
This year’s conference programme also features two concurrent hands-on workshops on Sustainability, led by Natasha Martin, Adventure Tourism Expert; Raj Gyawali, Founder, Socialtours, and Jessica Yew, Co-Founder & Director, Sticky Rice Travel, and Authenticity which will be led Dan Moore, CEO of Pandion Consulting & Facilitation.
The conference will be opened by YB Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia.
“We are very pleased to be given the honour to host PATA this year, whose theme ‘Authenticity and Sustainability in Adventure’ is in line with our aspirations to highlight Malaysia’s outdoor and adventure attractions to cater to the growing adventure tourism market while adhering to responsible travel initiatives,” commented the Minister.
Other confirmed speakers include Graham Harper, Director – Sustainability & Social Responsibility, PATA; Irshad Mubarak, Owner, Junglewalla Tours Pakkanut Bansiddhi, DVM, MSc, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Companion Animals and Wildlife Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, and Theerapat Trungprakan, President, Thai Elephant Alliance Association.
“I would like to sincerely thank all our delegates and speakers for joining us in Malaysia to discuss, analyse and share their various ideas in planning, building and promoting a responsible travel and tourism industry, particularly during the current coronavirus crises,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “I would also like to to thank our hosts for having taken extra precautions to ensure the health and safety our delegates during their stay in Sabah.”