PATA debuts responsible travel pavilion

RESPONDING to a shift towards selling experiences rather than destinations, PATA has, for the first time, launched a Responsible Travel Pavilion at the show.

A dozen exhibitors come under this business platform dedicated to responsible and sustainable travel including Khiri Travel, Wild Asia, Sampran Riverside, Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Messe Berlin.

Ivy Chee, the association’s regional director of East Asia, said: “This new pavilion will allow us to showcase organisations that deserve to be recognised for their efforts in sustainable tourism and socially responsible initiatives in their operations.

“(It) also provides a further opportunity for participants to network and do business with like-minded organisations – to share their knowledge, experiences and lessons learned in an informal setting.”

Seeking to address any misperceptions that travel agencies may have, Amy McLoughlin, responsible tourism awards manager & associate specialist, Wild Asia, said: “Occasionally travellers may consider responsible tourism as ‘slumming it’. Of course, there are many inspirational responsible tourism initiatives that are at a much more grassroots level than some may be comfortable to frequent.

“But responsible luxury is possible too. Delicious local produce, intricate handicrafts, welcoming staff and a clean environment are just some possible attractive benefits of a committed responsible tourism operator.”

Wild Asia conducts clinics and seminars that “aim to bring the agenda of ethical tourism to the mass tourism business players”, added McLoughlin.

Although responsible travel is not an afterthought for the DMC, Willem Niemeijer, CEO of Khiri Travel Group, said that it “continues to work on improving our footprint in our daily operations, and that of our suppliers”.

Khiri Travel’s charity Khiri Reach is another way that the company contributes to communities. He explained: “We leverage our business network to link donors and volunteers with NGOs and community service projects that need the help.

“The society has become aware of the enormity of global environmental and social problems. Responsible travel is a way to manage this stress on planet and people.

“To spread the bounty of the tourism boom, we need creativity and coordination between the public and private sector.”

Read more stories in TTG-PATA Travel Mart Show Daily

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