BANGKOK, 13 January 2020: As the US and Iran continue to exchange threats, the Pacific Asia Travel Association claims the sensitive situation in the Middle East should not deter the association from hosting its annual summit in the region in March.
Less than three months away, it will be difficult for the association to switch to another destination if hostilities escalate. PATA will host the flagship event, that draws around 500 of its members worldwide, 31 March to 3 April, in Ras al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates.
Commenting on the crisis in the Middle East, PATA CEO Mario Hardy told TTR Weekly: “I don’t expect the current tension to impact on our events in 2020, but I do believe that should tensions escalate, it will impact on the price of oil which in turn will affect the aviation industry.
“This could lead to a reduction in the growth of tourism due to higher costs being passed to the traveller. Additionally, geopolitical tensions create uncertainty with investors and travellers, which results in a wait and see an attitude that isn’t good for the global economy.”
Meanwhile, Australia one of PATA’s founding country members faces an unprecedented bushfire crisis that shows no sign of abating as summer heat and winds intensify putting at risk lives and the economy that relies heavily on tourism.
PATA’s CEO said Australia’s decision to stop all tourism marketing campaigns was the right approach while the nation deals with the natural disaster that has claimed 27 lives demolished thousands of homes and killed an estimated half a billion domestic animals and wildlife.
Since September, bushfires have destroyed more than 10.3 million hectares nationally.
“Australia has to concentrate on protecting its citizen, cultural assets, wildlife and the environment at the moment. When things have settled, I am sure that Australia tourism will rise again, and PATA and its members will be here to assist recovery.”
Travel industry organisations are joining other industries to donate millions of dollars for the relief effort, while Australians have set aside political differences to present a united effort to tackle the crisis.
The New South Wales state government has announced it has approved emergency funding of AUD1 billion to help rebuild towns destroyed by bushfires. The funding is in addition to the AUD2 billion announced by the federal government.