PATA fleshes out Next Gen initiatives

DUSTING off its old days of declining relevance, PATA’s Next Gen strategy to add value to members has been described as a three-legged stool comprising aligned advocacy, innovative events and the newly launched travel data platform PATAmPOWER.

Speaking at the PATA Annual Conference held in Malaysia over the weekend, PATA CEO, Martin Craigs, said PATAmPOWER aimed to be the single, authoritative source of travel data for the industry.

Created in HTML5 and available on mobile devices, information such as tourist expenditure, hotel occupancy and passenger flows can be summoned up with a few clicks. Content partners include NTOs, STR Global, IATA, ComScore and Sinotech.

“We want to empower (members) in their business…so we’ve combined a massive 20-course banquet and given them all the vitamins in one pill,” he explained.

For advocacy, PATA will team up with global organisations such as the World Travel & Tourism Council to lobby policy makers with one voice. Hot-button issues such as the UK Air Passenger Duty and the European Union Emissions Trading System are currently priorities.

“We’re here to stop hindrances to travel. We’re here to name and shame people who are the weakest links and who are often hypocrites,” said Craigs.

To that end, PATA has also appointed a communications global advisor, former BBC news anchor Keshini Navaratnam. Based in London, she has already helped to secure a speaking slot for PATA in the UK House of Commons in November.

Craigs added that PATA’s line-up of new Hub City Forums in a number of Asian destinations this year, as well as existing initiatives such as the PATA Travel Mart and the Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart were also part of the strategy in connecting members through events.

He told TTG Asia e-Daily that the goal was to restore the association’s reserves to 2009 levels – around US$2 million – by 2016. The figure is now closer to US$1 million. “We want to rebuild PATA step by step. We’re not going to have a V-shape recovery, but a U-shape one,” he said.

Said incoming PATA chairman, João Manuel Costa Antunes: “We want to develop the concept of PATA being the voice of Asia-Pacific…we want existing members to feel the value of participating in this association.”

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