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PATA’s future role up for debate at 60th Anniversary and Conference

PATA’s future role up for debate at 60th Anniversary and Conference

The Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) role as a membership association will be the focus of discussions at the first plenary session of the 60th Anniversary and Conference, April 9-12, 2011, at the China World Hotel, Beijing.

Taking the anniversary theme “Building Tourism: Past. Present. Progressive,” Plenary 1 will consider PATA’s impact over the past 60 years, its relevance today, and its commitment to the future.

Introducing the session, lead presenter Robert Broadfoot, managing director, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd., will provide an overview of some of the key factors influencing the changing landscape of the region’s travel and tourism industry. His presentation will consider rising incomes in Asia, as well as the rapid growth of outbound tourism from China and, to a lesser extent, India.

Said Broadfoot: “There is also the huge investment taking place in infrastructure needed to move travelers, namely, road, railroad, and airport systems. Which countries are doing the most not only to make travel ‘safer’ but also more convenient?”

Taking part in the panel discussion that follows will be representatives of different sectors within the travel and tourism industry, such as government, carrier, hospitality, and industry, as well as the PATA 2011 “Face of the Future” winner and a PATA Life member. The session will be moderated by TIME magazine’s Liam Fitzpatrick.


Each of the representatives will discuss the challenges faced by their own particular sector, as well as their relationship with PATA over the years. Jon Hutchison, Chief Executive Officer of Business Events, Sydney, will join the discussion as the representative PATA Life member. He said that while PATA’s early years were about assisting the development of Asia Pacific nations as world-class tourism destinations, its purpose now was very different.

“PATA’s role should be leading issue debates on matters important to tourism and assisting in growing specific sectors of tourism, such as environmental tourism and events,” added Hutchison.

Also participating in the debate, Hans Lerch, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hotelplan Holding AG, who will represent the industry sector, said that while he believed PATA was still relevant today, there was always a critical need to keep reviewing this relevancy. He recalled a period in the mid-1990s, when PATA’s influence was second-to-none.

Said Lerch: “PATA was an institution at that time, the number one networking platform for everything and anything in tourism between the West Coast and India. Organizations with business interests in Asia Pacific didn’t get around PATA, and I profited directly and enormously from my involvement with and in PATA.”

As for its role now, he said PATA must put itself forward as the foremost authority of travel and tourism in Asia Pacific by, for example, showing a strong reaction to what had happened in Japan.

The PATA 60th Anniversary and Conference marks the return, after a five-year hiatus, of the PATA Annual Conference. Focusing on some of the biggest issues facing travel and tourism executives, the program will feature high-profile speakers from within and outside the industry. It promises to be a pivotal event for the Asia Pacific travel and tourism sector and a must-attend for anyone interested in the on-going development of this dynamic region.

Registration is open until March 25, 2011.