PATA’s New Executive Board Elected in Sri Lanka

Colombo (Sri Lanka) – May 27, 2017 (travelindex.com) – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce the election of Ms. Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing Asia Pacific – TripAdvisor based in Hong Kong SAR as Chairperson of the Association’s Executive Board. She replaces Andrew Jones who was elected Chairman in May 2016 and who remains a member of the Executive Board as Immediate Past Chairman.

Sarah has been an active PATA member since TripAdvisor joined the Association in 2012, attending nearly all PATA events as either a speaker or delegate. She first joined the PATA Executive Board when she was elected the Industry Council Chairperson in 2014 and was elected Vice Chairperson in May 2016. Sarah uses her travels across the Asia Pacific region to encourage new destinations and other industry businesses to join the Association.

On her appointment, Ms. Mathews said, “I’m honoured to take on the role of Chairperson for PATA’s Executive Board 2017/2018. Our executive board this year is an example of PATA’s diversity and expertise. With experts from both the private and public side on this year’s board we will continue the efforts of PATA across the world. To quote Dr. Taleb Rifai Secretary General of the UNWTO, ‘Tourism is a Force for Good’ and we at PATA will endeavour to help to support the efforts of tourism and our core values at PATA. I look forward to a productive year.”

Sarah leads the Destination Marketing Sales team at TripAdvisor, for the Asia Pacific region. The team is focused on working with and supporting all tourism boards in Asia Pacific, as well as helping local hospitality businesses better understand the impact of digital on their business. Under Sarah’s leadership, the Asia Pacific team launched the first TripAdvisor’s Destination Academy, a three-day Digital Boot camp for government organisations and the CEO Challenge, a regional campaign that supports the discovery of less well-known destinations in the region.

Prior to her current role, Sarah was based in TripAdvisor’s London office as part of the Destination Marketing Sales team and was responsible for the European, Asian and African markets. During that time, she worked closely with key clients such as South Africa Tourism and Greek National Tourism Organization, sharing best practices with industry partners. Her work with South Africa Tourism on its first global strategic partnership was featured in the recent UNWTO E-Marketing Handbook.

Prior to joining TripAdvisor, Sarah held MICE and international marketing positions at the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Visit Flanders, where she worked with industry partners drive awareness of both destinations. Sarah was a senior executive at Cesar Ritz Colleges in Hong Kong before that.

Born and raised in Hong Kong SAR, Sarah has also lived in Beijing and Australia and is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, giving her a deep understanding and appreciation of the region.

During the PATA Annual Summit 2017 in Negombo, Sri Lanka, PATA also elected a five new members to its Executive Board including Dr. Chris Bottrill, Dean at the Faculty of Global and Community Studies, School of Tourism Management – Capilano University, Canada; Hiran Cooray, Chairman – Jetwing Hotels Sri Lanka; Jon Nathan Denight, President and CEO – Guam Visitors Bureau, USA; Mohamed Sallauddin H.j. Mat Sah, General Manager Marketing – Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, Malaysia, and Peter Semone, Senior Advisor – Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH), Lao PDR.

Other Executive Board members include Stephen Pearce, Vice President – Marketing at Tourism Vancouver; Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director – Macao Government Tourism Office, Macao SAR; Pilar Laguaña, Chairperson, PATA Micronesia Chapter, Guam, and Ben Montgomery, Director of Business Relations Management, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand.

Dr. Chris Bottrill was elected as the new Vice Chairperson, while Stephen Pearce remains Secretary/Treasurer.

Dr. Bottrill said, “It is an honour to be elected Vice Chairman of PATA at the Sri Lanka meeting. The Asia Pacific region is the most dynamic area of tourism growth which makes the role of PATA all the more important in the years ahead. I am looking forward to working with our exceptional Board and dedicated members on a wide array of initiatives to further strengthen and engage our global network.”

Dr. Chris Bottrill is the Dean of the Faculty of Global and Community Studies at Capilano University in North Vancouver, Canada. He holds a PhD in tourism network and destination development. Chris oversees programming and development in tourism and hospitality fields in a complex portfolio that includes five academic schools, international projects, and aboriginal education programming. He has taught a wide array of tourism topics including destination development, sustainability, marketing, and entrepreneurship at universities in Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and Austria.

Chris has extensive applied industry experience having completed over 50 tourism management and development projects around the globe. These have included new product feasibility analyses, marketing strategies, resource assessments, and multiple stakeholder engagement processes. He has also presented on tourism related topics ranging from Olympic preparedness to community tourism development at conferences and forums in China, Canada, Russia, Finland, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, and Cambodia.

Chris’s first experience with PATA was as a conference volunteer in Vancouver in 1995. He joined PATA in 2011 and has participated in a wide array of roles. He has served as the Chair of the Human Capital Development (HCD) Committee and Vice Chair of the Sustainability and Social Responsibility Committee since 2014, and he has also been a Trustee with the PATA Foundation for the past three years. During his tenure as committee Chair and Vice Chair Chris initiated a revision of both committee terms of reference, rebuilt committee membership, and led the formation of action plans which have seen many initiatives begin and come to fruition. In his role as HCD Chair he also facilitated highly successful Youth Symposiums in Phnom Penh, Chengdu, and Bangalore and Guam. Since joining the Executive Board, Chris has been leading governance revisions to align strategic efforts of the organisation and engage a broader base of membership.

Anthony Lau, Executive Director – Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong SAR and Soon-Hwa Wong, Regional Director – Asia Pacific, Blacklane GmBH, Singapore have been appointed to the Executive Board as non-voting members.

Furthermore, Faeez Fadhlillah, the CEO and Co-founder of Tripfez, Malaysia and the PATA Face of the Future 2017, joins the PATA Executive Board as a non-voting member and observer for a one-year term at the invitation of the PATA Chairperson.

The new Executive Board members were confirmed at the PATA Board Meeting on May 21, 2017 during the PATA Annual Summit 2017 in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

About PATA
Founded in 1951, PATA 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. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 95 government, state and city tourism bodies, 25 international airlines and airports, 108 hospitality organisations, 72 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 36 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which includes ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, WEF, UNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney and London.

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