Published on : Thursday, April 22, 2021
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has gathered a diverse line-up of top industry leaders from both the public and private sectors to explore the critical challenges and issues facing our industry at the upcoming Virtual PATA Annual Summit 2021 taking place from April 27-29.
“I am truly excited for this year’s Annual Summit as we have brought together CEOs and leaders from some of the biggest organisations in the industry, as well as senior representations from the public sector and other non-governmental organisations,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “As we look towards recovery and continue to build a future where tourism remains a positive tool in fuelling sustainable development and economic growth, this event provides us the perfect opportunity to reflect and reconnect in order to revitalise an industry in dire need. Therefore, I invite all industry stakeholders to join us and the already more than 2,500 delegates registered for the event and be part of the discussion as we work to restart a stronger, more responsible and more sustainable industry.”
The three-day online event, with the theme “Reflect, Reconnect, Revive”, is organised with the support of Platinum Sponsor, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Gold Sponsor, the Global Tourism Economy Forum. It includes a half-day forum, the PATA Board Meeting and Annual General Meeting, and the PATA Youth Symposium that allows students and young tourism professionals that opportunity to engage with senior industry leaders.
The half-day forum opens with a keynote presentation from Pansy Ho, Group Executive Chairman and Managing Director, Shun Tak Holdings, and Co-Chairperson and Executive Director, MGM China Holdings, who will provide her “Reflections on Travel” and how the industry needs to rethink tourism policies and government systems that can promote solidarity within the industry, and rediscover the most basic links between business and people’s needs that pave way for a more resilient future.
Other confirmed speakers for the forum include Rochelle Turner, Head of Research & Insight, MaCher USA; John Perrottet, Global Tourism Specialist, The World Bank; Lauren Uppink Calderwood, Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries, World Economic Forum (WEF); Alain Dupeyras, Head of the Regional Development and Tourism Division, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development); Siew Hoon Yeoh, Founder & Editor, WiT; Stephen Kaufer, CEO, Tripadvisor; Ross Veitch, CEO & Co-Founder, Wego; John Brown, CEO, Agoda; Aaron Heslehurst, Business News Presenter, BBC World News; Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airport; Sir Timothy Clark, President, Emirates; Raini Hamdi, Editor-at-Large, Skift; Adrian Zecha, Founder, Azerai; Greg Klassen, Partner, Twenty31 Consulting Inc.; Ghada Shalaby, Vice Minister for Tourism Affairs, Egypt; Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive Officer, South African Tourism, and Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., Undersecretary, Tourism Development, Department of Tourism, Philippines.
The forum includes sessions on ‘New Models of Tourism’, ‘Reconnecting Tourism’ in collaboration with WiT Middle East, ‘Revitalising the Industry’, which comprises an Aviation Discussion and a Hospitality Discussion and ‘What’s Next’, sponsored by Twenty31.
As part of the event programme, the Association will once again organise the PATA Leaders Debate. Sponsored by Airbnb, the debate will explore the tension between the environmental and economic impacts of tourism and discuss which is more important for the future sustainability of the tourism industry. The discussions will focus on articulating whether economic benefit or environmental sustainability should be the focus of the industry’s collective efforts and activities as it plans to restart travel.
Speakers for the debate include Irina Bokova, Former Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Iyad Rasbey, Executive Director – Destination Tourism Development & MICE, RAKTDA; Suresh Singh Budal, 2020 PATA Face of the Future and CEO, PATA Nepal Chapter, and Surayyal Hizmi, 2021 PATA Face of the Future and Lecturer Advisor, PATA Lombok Tourism Polytechnic Student Chapter. The debate will be moderated by Rajan Datar, The Travel Show Presenter, BBC World News.
Before the debate, there will also be an Executive Interview between Carmen Roberts, The Travel Show Presenter, BBC World News and Raki Phillips, CEO, RAKTDA to learn more about the current developments taking place in Ras Al Khaimah, a destination with over 7,000 years of fascinating history, culture and magnificent landscapes.
Interested parties can still register for the event, and immediately login to the virtual platform to begin networking with delegates from over 80 global destinations. There are also opportunities to win prizes during the event courtesy of RAKTDA, such as a trip to the Sawaidi Pearl Farm for two, a half day excursion to the Bear Grylls Explorer Camp for two, or a zipline ride at Jais Flights for two.