PATA lifts lid on the young Asian traveller
Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia was the venue for the 2014 Pacific Asia Travel Association ( PATA) Travel Mart from 17- 19 September with over 1,000 delegates from 58 countries around the world joining the annual networking event. ROGE R ALL NUT repor
At this year’s PATA travel mart, New Zealand was named among the top ten favoured destinations for young Asian travellers, especially as an adventure destination. France and Australia were favoured in a number of categories. The PATA report, Rise of the Young Asian Traveller, explores the reasons why youth travel in Asia is taking off, the potential opportunities and the challenges the industry faces in harnessing that potential. The report explores the reasons why youth travel in Asia is taking off, which sectors are successfully marketing to the youth market ( eg low cost carriers) and who exerts the biggest influence on their travel decisions ( social media). PATA outgoing chief executive Martin Craigs said: “This report highlights very effectively why Asia's top destinations and tourism brands need to sit up and take notice of young customers and their travel tastes.” PATA says the report is intends to help tourism professionals around the world to understand the importance of engaging with young people, both as consumers and employees in the travel and tourism industries and to give them an understanding of the power of the young Asian traveller to shape global travel and tourism into the future. As one of the newest destinations to be developing in the booming Asian region, the Cambodian venue was an appropriate choice for this year’s travel mart. PATA chairman Scott Supernaw said: “Cambodia with its unique cultural heritage that spans more than 1,000 years of history has so much to offer international visitors from its cultural and natural attractions to its people and traditions.” At the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the mart the Minister of Tourism of Cambodia Dr Thong Khon said: “This event will not only be a milestone in Cambodian tourism history which is a step moving forward to help promoting Cambodia – Kingdom of Wonder – as a world class tourist destination, but it will also showcase Cambodia’s today reality with full peace, political stability, safety and public order, along with its standardized tourism services and facilities. Established in 1978 the PATA Travel Mart ( PTM) is Asia Pacific's longest running and most value- adding networking event for the travel and tourism industry. Over the years it has evolved to suit the needs of the travel industry and this year's event featured the first ever Responsible Travel Pavilion where members and travel industry stakeholders committed to responsible and sustainable travel came together to share their knowledge, experiences and lessons learnt. PATA acts as a catalyst for the responsible
development of travel and tourism to and from the Asia Pacific region. Among its many roles it provides insightful research and data to member organisations. One of the key questions facing tourism bodies together with the funds for provision of new infrastructure is the need to source future generations of people to staff hotels and act as tour guides. At a forum on Community Development through Tourism held just prior to PATA a declaration was made recognising the principles and guidelines for community development through tourism and the work of community based tourism and its stakeholders to sustain communities and their unique attributes, conserve and protect the natural environment and cultural resources, foster knowledge exchange and promote local socio- economic development, capacity building, empowerment and poverty reduction. The declaration defines community based tourism as an activity, community owned and operated and managed or coordinated at the community level, that contributes to the well- being of communities through supporting sustainable livelihoods and protecting valued socio- cultural traditions and natural and cultural heritage resources. The Diamond Island Convention Centre in Phnom Penh was the focus for 450 seller delegates from 233 organisations, with 266 buyer delegates from 252 organisations seeking new business opportunities. There were 60 journalists from 18 source markets. A number of markets new to sourcing inbound tourism to Cambodia made their first appearance at PTM this year. These included Poland, Egypt, Brazil and Argentina. Many agents reported they mainly sell Cambodia as part of a package of countries such as: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Cambodia received 4.8 million visitors in 2013 and the country is aiming to receive around 8 million by 2018. Although Australia was in the top ten with in excess of 100,000 visitors in 2013, the numbers from New Zealand are small. Some of the projections for tourism numbers from the region and investment in tourism projects are staggering. For example it is estimated there will be as many as 500 million outbound Chinese tourists per year by 2020. It was reported that one Thai investor was preparing to invest up to $ 1.2 billion in new projects on and around the Chaopraya River in Bangkok alone. Other briefings were given by representatives from the Philippines and Malaysia. The Philippines will be targeting tourists in 2015 with a Visit the Philippines 2015 promotion with five themes covering business, history and culture, lifestyle, sports and adventure, music and the arts. Two major events will be the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Manila at the end of World War II and a visit by Pope Francis. Malaysia had an increase in foreign tourists in 2013 and is looking to maintaining the current level of 25.3 million per year. Australia was eighth on the list of arrivals with 526,000, while 63,200 New Zealanders visited, a drop of three per cent from the previous year. A big attraction for shoppers is that Malaysia has three of the top ten largest shopping malls in the world. There will be an International Shoe Festival in 2015. Next year, the PATA travel Mart 2015 will be held in Bangalore, India.
Above: The PATA Travel Mart 2014 ribbon cutting ceremony outside the The Diamond Island Convention Centre in Phnom Penh.
Left: PATA chairman Scott Supernaw and Cambodian minister of tourism Dr Thong Khon exchange gifts.
Left: Karnataka minister of tourism RV Deshpande of India and PATA chairman Scott Supernaw enjoy a Cambodian massage.
Traditionally dressed models adorn the Cambodian stand.