Brand magic: Mart turns into forum

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.

inside no 2The 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.


  1. Mr Ross (Vice Chairman, PATA Chiang Rai Chapter),

    I’m surprised by your comments considering that you are a PATA brand ambassador in your own region knowing that the PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2016 will be hosted in your hometown, Chiang Rai.

    I’d like to clarify a few points, this event isn’t the known PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart that was held earlier this year in Bhutan. This Adventure Mart is still one of PATA’s flag ship event and will be hosted annually. The event is profitable contrary to the statement made and has always been. We already have expression of interest from several countries to host the event till 2018.

    The PATA New Tourism Frontier Forum is a brand new event (which was initially branded as an Adventure Related Conference), but the general theme changed as we saw an opportunity to create something unique helping smaller, less known destinations to promote themselves to the travel trade. What a better way to know a destination, but by having the trade visiting it. The event includes a technical site visit of the destination followed by a discussion with tourism experts.

    Mr. Ross, PATA is reinventing itself, innovating and creating new mediums allowing both its public and private sector members to engage. Maybe if you were to attend one of our events you could experience first hand how the organisation you represent is changing.

    Mario Hardy
    Chief Executive Officer
    Pacific Asia Travel Association

    • It is difficult to “rebrand” what has not been born. You could have renamed it like an unborn child. The press statement said ‘newly rebranded” suggesting the branding was new, while the event had a history. It doesn’t, so for us who do not possess a constant alert weather eye to check every fickle change in wind direction at PATA it is easy to assume the event in question was the adventure travel mart that was about to rebranded after a couple of decades.
      As for the Adventure Travel Mark I am happy to read that it is motoring on in the direction of Chiang Rai. Must be your little secret as it remains a mystery here in Chiang Rai. But as you say it will make you a profit.

Comments are closed.