Zhuhai (China) – May 24, 2014 – Over 230 young professionals, students and lecturers gathered at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Youth Symposium at Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai Campus on May 16, 2014. Under the theme, “The Future Belongs to Those Who Prepare for Today”, the Symposium commenced prior to the PATA Executive Board, Board Meeting and 2014 AGM.
The PATA Youth Symposium aims to provide a strong career foundation for students who wish to enhance their value-adding networking opportunities with travel professionals.
The Forum opened with welcome statements by Mr Peter Semone, Chairman of the PATA Education and Training Committee, and Mr Chen Chunsheng, Vice President, Sun Yat-Sen University, who both noted that the students were fortunate to hear from the experienced speakers who could provide valuable insights for the next generation of tourism and travel professionals.
Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin, Deputy Director General (Promotion), Tourism Malaysia, began the symposium with a presentation regarding the growth of tourism in Malaysia since the 1970s and its current objectives to increase tourist arrivals and extend length of stay, as well as increase domestic tourism and its share of the MICE segment and special interest tours.
Ms Ivy Chee, PATA Regional Director – East Asia, shared her experience of working in the complex travel and tourism industry and the “Complete Visitor Economy.” She also discussed the importance of the next generation of young Asian travellers and how marketers needed to think more creatively to promote tourism to them. As she highlighted, young Asian travellers tend to stay longer and spend more money. In addition, they want to learn and contribute more to the local communities.
Mr Philip Schaetz, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Dorsett Hospitality International, Hong Kong SAR, spoke about revenue management and how it plays an integral role in hotel sales and marketing. He also emphasised the importance of data and statistics, in terms of revenue forecasts, booking pace and other indicators, which help to maximise opportunities, drive additional demand, uplift market penetration, increase total guest expenditure, and increase campaign return on investment (ROI).
Ms Ben Montgomery, Chairperson of the PATA Thailand Chapter and Director of Business Relations Management, Centara Hotels and Resorts, Bangkok, Thailand, described her experience working in the travel and tourism industry and how passion and continuous education were essential in reaching her goals in her career.
Mr Randy Durband, Chief Executive Officer, The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), introduced GTSC to the students and how as a non-profit organisation it sets standards on what it means to be sustainable in the travel and tourism industry. He stressed that destinations must be preserved for future generations and the important role of travel and tourism stakeholders in safeguarding cultural heritages and reducing poverty.
Dr Fanny Vong, President, Institute for Tourism Studies, Macau, explained how to prepare for a global career in the industry and how it was important to recognise the different roles of people in the industry.
Ms Soulinnara Ratanavong, the 2014 PATA Face of the Future and Teacher/Trainer, the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith), Lao PDR, talked about tourism in Lao PDR and the important role Lanith plays in human capital development of the tourism and travel industry in the country.
The students were also able to hear from various PATA Student Chapters, including Ms JC Wong, Former Chairperson, PATA Malaysia Taylor’s Student Chapter; Mr Vincent Wong, Chairperson, PATA China Zhejiang Gongshan University Student Chapter; and Ms Jenny Wang, Chairperson, PATA Macau Student Chapter. Each talked about their experiences and role of working with PATA and the activities their chapters undertake to help build their network, enhance their real-life experience and prepare themselves for their career development in the future.
The highlight of the symposium was the presentation provided by PATA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Martin Craigs, who brought three special guests on stage for a quick Q&A session. The guest speakers included Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Chairman, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board; Mr. Setyono Djuandi Darmono, Chairman, PT Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation (JOTRC), Indonesia; and Mr. John Schubert, Managing Director – Marketing Asia Pacific and India, The Boeing Company.
Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen answered a question regarding the roles of women in the travel and tourism industry and spoke about the challenges of changing the perception of women in the workplace, adding that women need to empower and believe in themselves to overcome these challenges. She noted that men today were more accepting and supportive of women in the workplace.
Mr. Darmono discussed the importance of human capital development and the necessity of supporting training and developing people, as “destinations may be ready, people are not ready.” Mr. Schubert talked about the expanding Asia market and the sharp rise in sales of airplanes in Asia.
To close out the symposium, Professor Bao Jigang, Dean, School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-sen University, and Mr. Craigs presented PATA token of appreciations to Sun Yat-sen University and the speakers.
At the conclusion of the symposium, Mr Semone stated: “The event was inspiring and energising, and is evidence of PATA’s relevance to aspiring young tourism professionals.”
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as 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 90 government, state and city tourism bodies, 30 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 57 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond.
Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 41 local PATA chapters worldwide, who organise 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, Dubai, London and New York.