While both the UNWTO and WTTC have named new chiefs, PATA decides to keep its CEO, extending Mario Hardy’s contract by another three years from January 2018.
In the past three years, Hardy has quietly and steadily rebuilt PATA, bringing back financial stability to the association, bolstering membership not just by numbers but by drawing new players such as Airbnb, AppNexus and what3words, and providing members with more content, events and activities.
PATA membership now stands at 830. It also has 36 chapters with more than 5,000 members, and 20 student chapters with more than 7,000 members.
Kevin Murphy, president & CEO, Asiawide Hospitality Solutions Hong Kong and PATA chairman 2015-2016, is one of many that welcomed the decision. He said: “Mario’s contract renewal is a great opportunity to see PATA’s effective rebuilding continue under his effort.
“PATA can only succeed fully with engaging more industry volunteer involvement and with engaging identified commitment from members who are ready and willing to continue to make it more relevant for those many others who have yet to see the added benefit of renewing or initiating membership.
“As always its future success depends on many and, while the current CEO has also shown what next steps are both possible and likely necessary, in the long run it is the members who also need to help find the resources to provide him with added staff support with stronger industry senior level experience and influence, so that his role is not too exhausting with just one man’s effort.
“I wish him and PATA well and will continue to be available when called where I can help both members and destinations and companies considering membership.”
Hardy told TTG Asia: “PATA and I started a journey together three years ago and we still have a lot of work to do to move the organisation forward and remain sustainable in this great period of uncertainty in the world.”
Hardy’s CEO extension comes at a time when the industry is watching whether the cohesive UNWTO-WTTC partnership forged by their respective former heads Taleb Rifai (outgoing) and David Scowsill will remain. Rifai will be replaced by Zurab Pololikashvili, current Georgia ambassador, as UNWTO secretary-general for 2018-2021, while Gloria Guevara Manzo, former tourism secretary for Mexico, is just warming her seat at WTTC as the new president.
More crucially, China has initiated a new international tourism organisation, World Tourism Alliance, that is seen by some as a potential game-changer.