BANGKOK, 11 June 2015: Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has taken the bold step of so-called rebranding its adventure travel event to PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2015.
The new event will be hosted in the Philippines this November.
Whatever name given, the event was struggling and embarking on a rebranding exercise is not likely to make much of a difference. Adventure or frontiers, marts or forums, it suggests PATA is desperately trying to save a talk fest that has no relevance to travel business owners.
In its announcement, Thursday, PATA said it will organise the newly re-branded PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2015, formerly the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference, from November 25 to 27, 2015 at the Oriental Hotel Legazpi in Albay, Philippines.
PATA should think again. Does the trade need more events? The annual travel trade calendar is packed with meetings that have sunk to the level of talk shops where the converted preach to the converted and there is no practical relevance to business, even for the organisers.
The three-day Tourism Frontiers Forum will have a theme of “Ecotourism – Transcending Climate Change”. It will be hosted and bank-rolled by the Provincial Government of Albay in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Philippines.
Albay has been recently declared the most vibrant and the fastest growing tourist destination in the Philippines, but by whom PATA doesn’t bother to say in its annoucement.
Predictably, PATA CEO Mario Hardy states: “The dispersion of tourism is the association’s main advocacy issue this year, and one that I hold very dear to my heart.
Dispersion of tourism means PATA thinks it has the clout to move travellers to places that are not on their priority wish-list of destination. That is not advocacy, but the work of miracles.
But Hardy insists he has a point: “Last month we announced the PATA CEO Challenge 2015 as one avenue to address this issue, and now this event will allow destinations the opportunity to learn from various travel and tourism stakeholders how best to market and manage these new and emerging destinations, which are ready to be discovered.”
Originally, the adventure travel mart was geared to promoting soft adventure companies that needed to touch base with specialised buyers that would not attend a mainstream travel mart such as the PATA Travel Mart.
PATA has the last word on the matter when it sings its sales ditty,
“PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2015, allows tourism professionals to gain first hand practical experience in how to discover and get to know a destination in order to market the world-class attractions and tourism products and services that are relatively unknown by both trade and consumers to a global audience.”
Well if you know what that means then sign up.