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Published on : Monday, November 25, 2013
The Asia Pacific Tourism, Hospitality and Technology (APTHAT) conference was held for the first time in the capital of Sarawak, Kuching, and was attended by the travelandtourworld on the 21st-22nd November. The event can be summed up in one word as being a total success. It was fired up by a team of stimulating and engaging speakers who went on to demonstrate the advancement of technology in various aspects of tourism.
The speakers along with the press delegates were given a warm welcome by the efficient team members of the UCSI communications and their Managing Director Gracie Geikie. The objectives of the conference were laid down which truly addressed the needs and trends of tourism and hospitality in the Asia Pacific region. Technology has driven tourism and hospitality to new heights and has reached masses in the areas of communications, technology development, technology support tools, product innovation and trends across the world.
The conference started in full swing from the 21st November 2013, with an inaugural speech by YB Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Honorable Minister of Tourism and culture Malaysia where he commended the efforts of APT (HAT) as he put it. He said very positive words about the tourism prospects in Malaysia and assured his continues support towards APTHAT for the coming years. He also announced that the next APTHAT meet would be held at Kuala Lampur. Director General of tourism Malaysia Dato Mirza Mohammad Tayab too voiced very encouraging words on eco tourism and medical tourism in Malaysia.
The event took off with an analytical study of cruise tourism by Prof. Dr, Ross Dowling OAM, an expert in geo-tourism and ecotourism. He spoke about the advancements made by Asia Pacific in the sphere of cruise tourism and the great prospects that Asia Pacific holds in bringing out the true value of cruise. He predicted Kutching will be a major port by 2011. There will be dedicated cruise travel agencies developed in the Asia Pacific and there will be a definite growth in MICE tourism. He also felt that with investment in infrastructure and local resources the cruise tourism industry is bound to prosper in the Asia Pacific zone.
Dr. Madanmohan Rao spoke on social media networking to enhance tourism. He also conducted an interesting workshop through which he further went on to explain the benefits of social media and how instrumental is for the tourism industry.
Mr Duncan Bureau Senior Vice President Sales and Distribution Commercial of Malaysia Airlines spoke about his success story and the performance of Malaysian Airline. The airline industry is fast moving and with so many companies in the industry it is challenging to keep up with the competition. But despite all the pitfalls MAS is maintaining high standards and keeping pace with its global competitors. MAS will be the official carrier for APTHAT 2014.
Mr Andrew Jones Executive Board member of PATA, Chairman of Hospitality Committee Advisor- CSR, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism; Andrew Jones had returned from cyclone devastated site of the Philippines. He spoke about responsible tourism. APTHAT made a collection for Philippines which was handed over to PATA through Andrew Jones. Owner of a few boutique resorts he works towards responsible tourism involving locals and getting them in to work at the resort. Getting the locals engaged in fishing and organic farming and helping them develop in the long run.
Mr. Rohizam Md. Yusoff spoke about Digital Marketing and its benefits to the tour operators. He also added how the hospitality industry can greatly benefit from this new way of marketing. He pointed out that a simple website and standard search marketing can bounce business prospects to enormous growth proportions. He also emphasized on the benefits of SOTA which aids all the travel industry by providing them with adequate technical support.
Mr Dylan Redas Noel spoke about the role of the PCO’s in the business tourism Development for tourism destinations.
Mr E.M. Najeeb spoke about health tourism and its potential in the Asia Pacific. He discussed about the growing rage for Ayurveda and how natural therapy has really caught up with the world and international travellers are travelling to Kerala, India just to be treated in the Ayurvedic methods. He said that KIMS is a one stop shop for medical tourism where international tourists are specially treated through natural therapy. They have their branches spread across Asia and the Middle East.
Mr. Albert Teo spoke about ecotourism and its sustainability. He felt that there was a need to develop infrastructure and a coordinated effort of the public and private sector can make marked difference in the growth of tourism.
Mr. Masaru Takayama spoke on community based ecotourism ad how minimising waste is better than recycling. Community eating, participation and visiting untouched areas are a great way to promote ecotourism.
Ms, Selina Power spoke on Social Media Power in Tourism Growth. She felt that Social media is the future of tourism and by keeping constant watch on your Face book page updating status from time to time along with write ups that feature keywords and matched with relevant photographs can help fetch greater ‘likes’ which in turn would account for wider viewership and prove advantageous for the tourism industry.
Dr. Edward Dramberger spoke on the changing technology and marketing trends for the future of tourism.
Dr. Peter Ting spoke on the positive plans of Blue Ocean strategies for strategic Marketing Planners.
The conference ended on the 22nd November on a good note with a closing speech from YB Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, the Minsiter of State for tourism.
APTAT brought out the true spirit of tourism in the Asia Pacific. Tourism is meant to be taken up with responsibility and care for the people, locale and the earth at large. APTHAT conference was indeed an enlightening experience.