Sri Lanka Welcome PATA Annual Summit Delegates

Negombo (Sri Lanka) – May 24, 2017 (travelindex.com) – The PATA Annual Summit 2017 (PAS 2017), under the theme ‘Disruption. Innovation. Transformation: The Future of Tourism’, opened in Negombo, Sri Lanka on May 18 with 406 delegates from 191 organizations representing 39 countries attending the four-day event.

The programme for PAS 2017, generously hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau along with the Ministry of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs of the government of Sri Lanka, included the Association’s executive and advisory board meetings, annual general meeting (AGM), PATA Youth Symposium, PATA Insights Lounge (formerly the PATA Marketplace), the UNWTO/PATA Ministerial Debate and a one-day conference that addressed the issues, challenges and opportunities arising from the constantly evolving landscape of the travel and tourism industry.

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy told local and international media, “The PATA Annual Summit brings together international thought leaders, industry shapers and senior decision-makers who are professionally engaged with the Asia Pacific region. At PATA we understand that, to overcome the challenges and issues facing our industry, the public and private sectors must work together.

“Providing a catalyst for closer cooperation is one of PATA’s key roles. Through such partnerships between private and public sector members we stand on much firmer ground when seeking to enhance the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region,” he added.

The summit began with 130 students, alumni, lecturers and industry professionals from Sri Lanka and overseas participating at the PATA Youth Symposium 2017 with the theme ‘No Barriers: Millennials and the Future of Tourism’. The symposium was hosted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM).

Opening remarks at the one day conference on Friday, May 19 were given by the Hon. John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka, and by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai. The conference keynote address on ‘Managing disruption through innovation’ was given by Rafat Ali, CEO & founder of Skift.

Delegates also heard from international thought leaders and industry shapers including Aleandre Kwan, Philanthropies Asia Programme Manager – Microsoft; Andrew Chan, founder and CEO of ACI HR Solutions; Andrew Craig, Head of Corporate Communication India, South Asia and Southeast Asia – Visa Worldwide; Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO and Co-founder – Tripfez; Greg Klassen, Partner at Twenty31 Consulting Inc.; Ha Lam, Co-founder and COO – Triip.me; Jesse Desjardins, Global Manager, Social & Content – Tourism Australia; Joe M. Naaman, Senior Executive Advisor – Global Advisory Council, Skylight Intelligence; Joe Nguyen, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific – comScore; Jeremy Jauncey, founder & CEO – Beautiful Destinations; Muna Haddad, Managing Director – Baraka; Oliver Martin, Partner at Twenty31 Consulting Inc.; Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing APAC – TripAdvisor; Thao Nguyen, Head of Strategic Partnerships, APAC – Airbnb; Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice President, International Affairs, Office of the President & CEO, Etihad Airways, and Wong Soon-Hwa, Regional Director APAC – Blacklane.

Other topics discussed during the conference were: ‘‘The Transformation of Marketing’, ‘Research Innovation’, ‘Disrupting the Travel Industry’, ‘The Real Future of Tourism: Young Tourism Professionals’, and ‘Embracing Disruption: A Blueprint for the Future of Tourism’.

PATA, in partnership with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), held a half-day PATA/UNWTO Ministerial Debate on Saturday, May 20 when representatives from the public and private sectors discussed the concepts of recognised sustainability leadership and the sharing economy as they pertain to the travel and tourism industry. The debate was moderated by BBC News Correspondent & Presenter Yogita Limaye. Panellists included Datuk Seri Mirza