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PATA heads to Ras al Khaimah for 2020 annual summit

PATA heads to Ras al Khaimah for 2020 annual summit

The Pacific Asia Travel Association has announced its the annual summit will this year be taking place at the Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Centre in Ras Al Khaimah.

The event will take place from March 31st until April 3rd.

PATA officials hope the event will bring together more than 250 international thought leaders, industry shapers and senior decision-makers, all of whom are professionally engaged in driving tourism to and from the Asia Pacific region.

In what will be the first time the PATA summit has taken place in the Middle East, the three-day event will be hosted by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

It will embrace a global forum for enhancing the sustainable growth, value and quality of tourism.


In line with the PATA 2020 vision, the extensive programme will explore the theme ‘Partnerships for Tomorrow’ and provide a platform for PATA’s public and private sector members and partners to discuss the challenges and issues facing the industry.

Explaining the theme, Mario Hardy, chief executive of PATA, said: “We’re faced with a future that will be full of enormous challenges but, with meaningful partnerships, synergies and solidarity, there are also enormous opportunities to be had and we’re looking to exploring these with our members over the course of the summit.”

Conference Highlights

The summit commences with a keynote speech focused on the important role that partnerships play in ‘Changing the Narrative’ of tourism to transform the future of a destination.

Other highlights include a series of in-depth panel sessions that shine a light on the nature of partnerships, game-changing trends and communities that will shape the future of tourism.

These include:

  • Leveraging our cultural heritage for tourism growth: Senior representatives from major tourism destinations around the world will look at leveraging cultural heritage to create holistic destinations that drive tourism growth.
  • Understanding generation Z:A research specialist from the European Travel Commission will lead a conversation among a panel of experts to look at how marketers are focusing their attention on how to reach the next major travel segment.
  • Cross-cultural communities of the future: A case study presented by Nicole Smith, chief executive of Flytographer, on how she has successfully built a productive global community of travel photographers around the globe.
  • New tricks changing the old game: Established business leaders including Olof Atladottir, head of destination development at the Red Sea Development Company, and Chris Seek, chief executive of Solimar International, will share how they are adapting their model for the future.

There will also be a session led by Graham Harper, PATA director of sustainability and social responsibility, exploring the ‘Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Technology Innovation in Asia Pacific Tourism & Hospitality’.

Shared Responsibility

In addition to the conference, the event also encompasses a leaders debate during which the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation and PATA will address the industry’s collective responsibility towards protecting the environment and local communities.

In line with the United Nations General Assembly’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, leaders from each organisation will be asked to respond to the question: “What is the biggest obstacle for the travel and tourism industry to overcome in achieving sustainability?”.

There is aim of finding common ground between the public and private sectors on the best course of action to tackle climate change, as well as the various economic and social inequalities existing around the world.

Other features of the Summit include the PATA Annual General Meeting and the PATA Youth Symposium which provides students and young tourism professionals the opportunity to engage with senior industry leaders and encourages them to take their future and the future of the travel and tourism industry into their own hands.

Ras Al Khaimah

With over 7,000 years of history and culture, Ras Al Khaimah’s landscapes, dramatic coastlines and rich desert planes set it apart from the other emirates, offering a distinctly different experience for visitors.

As Mario observes: “Until just a few years ago, Ras al Khaimah was widely unknown but it’s bold and engaging tourism strategy has done a lot to change that in recent years, with headlines around the world celebrating its rich cultural heritage and abundant outdoor experiences, securing its reputation as an exciting and adventurous travel destination.

“That it’s also easily accessible – with its own growing airport, as well as being just 45-minutes from both Dubai International Airport and Sharjah Airport – makes the PATA Annual Summit 2020 the perfect opportunity for our Asian member organisations to explore a part of the UAE that many of them will not have experienced before and give them an opportunity to discover a destination which we expect to see a lot more from over the coming years.”

Ras Al Khaimah has been recognised as the Middle East’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination for the past two years by voters at the World Travel Awards.

The emirates is also home to a number of industry leading properties, including the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach (Middle East’s Leading Boutique Resort); the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert (Middle East’s Leading Luxury Desert Resort); Rixos Bab Al Bahr (Middle East’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort); and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah (Ras Al Khaimah’s Leading Resort).

Raki Phillips, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said, “It is an honour to be hosting the PATA Summit 2020 at Ras Al Khaimah, as it presents a wonderful opportunity to acquaint delegates and industry leaders from across the region with the emirate’s diverse offerings.

“Over and above pristine MICE facilities, Ras Al Khaimah is in a unique position to complement such events through its world-class resorts, beautiful coastline and abundance of cultural and outdoor adventure experiences.”

Richard Haddad, chief executive of Jannah Hotels & Resorts, celebrates at the World Travel Awards

The emirate is also home to Jannah Resort & Villas Ras Al Khaimah.

The location promises sunseekers a luxury escape, far from city life, in the tranquillity of private white sandy beaches, with uninterrupted vistas over the Arabian Gulf.

Guests can enjoy a relaxing day at beach or pool or get your heart pumping with the signature adventure activities including water sports, micro-lighting, mountain climbing and kayaking.

With other leisure attractions only minutes away, guests will never run out of things to do or see during a stay.

The property is recognised as offering Ras Al Khaimah’s Leading Hotel Villas by the World Travel Awards.

More Information

Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association is a not-for-profit membership association that acts a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.

Registration for the annual summit is complimentary for PATA Members and travel and tourism professionals based in GCC countries.

Find out more on the official website.