Tuesday, June 13, 2023
The PATA Annual Summit and Adventure Mart 2023 (PASM 2023), under the theme ‘Sustainability through Tourism”, commenced in Pokhara, Nepal on Tuesday, May 30 with 222 delegates from 115 organisations and 22 destinations attending the four-day event.
Organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and hosted by the Nepal Tourism Board with support from Event Patron, the Pokhara Municipality, and Local Partner, the Pokhara Tourism Council, the event encompassed various activities over the four-day programme. These included one-day PATA internal meetings for PATA members only (Executive Board & Board Meeting, Chapter Congress, and Government Meeting), a conference and adventure travel mart taking place across two days, the PATA Youth Symposium, and one-day destination experience as well as various networking sessions throughout the event.
“PATA has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the both the Nepal Tourism Board and local industry stakeholders, continuously inspired by their enthusiasm and dedication to the sustainable growth of tourism in the country. That is why the Association was honoured to be able to bring the PATA Annual Summit and Adventure Mart 2023 to Pokhara,” said PATA Chair Peter Semone. “By bringing together a diverse group of international thought leaders, industry shapers and senior decision-makers from both the public and private sectors, our aim was to engage in discussions addressing the challenges and forging solutions for a responsible recovery of the travel and tourism industry, not only in Nepal but also in destinations worldwide. In this manner, PATA remains steadfast in our commitment to facilitating these discussions and working towards our shared objectives.”
On Tuesday, May 30, the PATA Executive Board & Board Meeting, and PATA Chapter Congress took place, which focused on matters of the Association and Chapters respectively. The Government Bilateral Meetings and PATA Government Meeting also occurred at this time, with the latter meeting focusing on the complex issue of Human Capital Development across the region and beyond. The day ended with the Inauguration Ceremony and PATA Awards Presentation, presided over by the Chief Minister of Gandaki Province Honourable Surendra Raj Pandey.
The following day began with the main stage conference and keynote presentation from Andrew Staples, Regional Head, (APAC), Policy & Insights, Economist Impact, who provided a succinct and engaging overview of global events, movements and trends – both economic, political, and cultural, and what all this means for tourism, and its growth in the next two years. This was followed by a series of presentations on “Insights into the Future of Tourism in the Asia Pacific” from Dr. Anyu Liu, Assistant Professor, School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Herbert Yum, Research Manager, Euromonitor International; Mayur (Mac) Patel, Head of Asia, OAG, and Sridhar Keppurengan, Head of Cross Border Payments India & South Asia, VISA.
Following a quick break, Carmen Roberts, The Travel Show presenter from BBC News, moderated a panel session on “The Challenges and Opportunities for a Responsible Tourism Industry” with Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB); Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Minister, Ministry of Tourism Maldives; Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), and Florian Sengstschmid, CEO, Azerbaijan Tourism Board.
The rest of the day continued with a panel discussion on “How to Drive Higher Value Tourism” with Rosabella Ong, Principal Client Partner (SEA), Tripadvisor; Lisa Choegyal, Sustainable Tourism Specialist and Director, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, and Upaul Majumdar, Head of Practice – Tourism, Dolma Consulting, moderated by Mr. Semone. This followed by presentations on “The Return of the Chinese Traveller” by Prof. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO, China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI); “The Opportunity of the Indian Market” by SanJeet, Director, DDP Publications Pvt Ltd; “How can artificial intelligence (AI) drive tourism business” by Matt Gibson, CEO, UpThink, Thailand; and “Sustainable Tourism Interventions in Nepal” by Raj Gyawali, Tourism Strategy and Promotion Expert, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Binita S. Khadka, Senior External Relations Officer, Asian Development Bank (ADB). In the later afternoon, the mart began, offering attendees the opportunity to engage in one-on-one meetings to explore potential collaborations and business opportunities with exhibitors from around the region.
The third day of the event began with dynamic panel discussions on “Managing Crises and Challenges in the Post Pandemic World” with Datuk Musa Hj. Yusof, Deputy Director General (Promotion), Tourism Malaysia; Madubhani Perera, Director/Public Relations, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, and Nandini Lahe Thapa, Senior Director – PR and Publicity, Nepal Tourism Board, moderated by John Bailey, Chief Operating Officer, GoCrisis; “Activating Partnerships with Communities for Sustainability” with Lucky Chhetri, Founder Director, 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, Nepal; Dr. Chuwit Mitrchob, Deputy Director-General, DASTA, and Agnes Luz, Chief of Party, USAID Trade and Competitiveness Nepal, moderated by Pavnesh Kumar, Sustainability and Social Responsibility Programme Head, PATA; and “How To Work With Influencers on Social Media” with Monayac Karki, CEO and Co-Founder, Uptrendly, Nepal and Mr. Gibson, moderated Shradha Shrestha, Manager – Tourism Marketing & Promotion, Nepal Tourism Board. The afternoon continued with further one-on-one meetings at the mart, as well as the PATA Youth Symposium.
The final day of the event allowed delegates the opportunity to explore the beauty of Pokhara and included visits to Phewa Lake, Davis Falls, Gupeshwor Cave, the Peace Stupa and Shiva Temple.