PATA: Spread tourism’s wealth


NAY PYI TAW, 28 January 2015: ASEAN destinations need to diversify and disperse the benefits of tourism by moving travellers to secondary destinations, Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO Mario Hardy told the ASEAN Tourism Conference Tuesday.

He cited Cambodia’s Angkor Wat as an example claiming it sees a “massive amounts of tourists compared to 10 years ago when it was a quiet and peaceful.”

He called on tourism planners to disperse tourists to explore other sites in Cambodia.

“Tourists are not aware of the alternatives, everyone wants to tick the box and see Angkor Wat,” he told top executives attending the half-day conference.

Mario Hardy
Mario Hardy

Tackling the issue of regional tourism through partnerships, the PATA CEO said the association was a bridge between private and public sectors to discuss sustainable tourism.

“Growth is there, we know the numbers… how fast it is growing, but it is also about people and the need to have partnerships,” he explained.

He said partnerships start with the public sector championing and taking the lead.

“There is a need for public private cooperation… and the region needs air connectivity to drive tourism.

Airlines, airports and governments need to cooperate and infrastructure needs to be built to open up secondary destinations and disperse tourism to create a balance.”

He identified the lack of human resources as an immediate challenge for the tourism industry in ASEAN and the need to come up to speed on crisis management principles.

“This requires us to work with others…it is not about if a crisis will happen, but about when.”

The PATA CEO sees the association adopting a role of facilitator to organise workshops, develop campaigns for secondary destinations and to assist with research.