PATA challenges CEOs to tackle climate

The Pacific Asia Travel Association is
challenging influential and passionate travel industry leaders to agree and sign on
to a truly cross-sectoral industry response to climate change, one of the greatest
global threats to travel and tourism.Hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and organised in partnership with the
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) and the Burba Hotel Network (BHN), PATA’s
“CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change” will take place in Bangkok on April
29-30, 2008.

PATA President and CEO Mr Peter de Jong said that the ambitious goal for the CEO
Challenge is to create a single platform and action plan, fully engaging tourism
ministers and heads of tourist boards, CEOs of airlines and airports, CEOs of
leading international hotel groups, major tour operators and other key industry

The agenda will be focused, relevant and actionable.  Decision-makers from the
public and private sectors of the travel industry will be challenged over a day and
a half of interactive discussions to agree and commit to action.

Several important debates will lead up to the CEO Challenge.  UNWTO is convening the
second Climate Change and Tourism conference in Davos in early October this year,
while in November a tourism ministerial meeting will address the theme in London.
Next year on April 22-23, the airline community will convene its third Aviation and
Environment Summit in Geneva.

“We strongly support these initiatives and intend to incorporate their conclusions
and recommendations into our CEO Challenge’‘, Mr de Jong said.


He added: “We cannot achieve a meaningful response to climate change by acting
alone.  No one can.  No single organisation.  No single sector.  Only by working
together - as a united travel and tourism force - can we make a difference.”

Leading industry personalities have begun to voice their support for the CEO Challenge.

“This is a critical issue for the aviation and tourism industries to confront
together,” said Qantas Airways CEO Mr Geoff Dixon.  “The timing is perfect and PATA
is ideally placed to assist in their efforts.  I thoroughly support the CEO
Challenge,” he added.

“The CEO Challenge 2008 is a timely initiative that will bring together public and
private sector leaders to focus on practical steps we can take, as an industry, to
address the important issue of climate change,” said Association of Asia Pacific
Airlines (AAPA) Director General Mr Andrew Herdman.

“Economic and social development must go hand in hand with environmental
responsibility,” he said, adding that he believes Asia Pacific is pivotal in the
sustainable development of the global aviation, travel and tourism industries.

Accor Asia Pacific Chairman Mr David Baffsky said the health of the world’s
environment is fundamental and climate is a crucial component to all sectors of the
tourism industry.

“Our industry must not be marginalised so it is very important for CEOs to
participate in the CEO Challenge on climate change,” he said.  “It will facilitate
the industry having a real voice and making a positive contribution to a fully
informed debate to allow a proper understanding of the impact of our sector on our
planet”, he added.

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Chairman Mr Ho Kwon Ping said the event could not be

“The travel industry, because of its diversity, has not been able to come to grips
with the dimensions and implications of climate change, nor to even understand how
culpable we truly are as negative contributors to climate change, nor how we can
mobilise our enormous resources to provide positive leadership,” he said.

“This is an important conference, which I hope to be able to participate in,” said
Mr Ho.