BANGKOK, 3 March 2020: Just weeks after it said the show would go on, the Pacific Asia Travel Association pulled the plug on its annual summit due to take place in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE, 31 March to 3 April.
PATA CEO Mario Hardy confirmed the decision on Monday saying that “due to evolving dynamics of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) the annual summit will no longer take place.”
The decision was made after discussions with the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAK TDA) that was underwriting the event, the first PATA summit to be held in the Middle East.
UAE currently has 21 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus with five cases cured.
Hardy made the announcement in his frequent “From the Office of the CEO” a blog to members, He stated: “The safety and well-being of our members, industry colleagues and local communities is fundamental in our mission in acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism. With this in mind, we had come to this tremendously difficult decision.”
Expressing disappointment he assured members stakeholders “it was best that we made this decision in a clear and timely manner.”
Ras Al Khaimah will now host the PATA Annual Summit 2021 and dates for next year’s event will be announced soon.
As for refunds, delegates who paid registration fees or purchased tickets for the PATA Foundation Charity Dinner, can either transfer the registration fee and Charity Dinner ticket fee to the PATA Annual Summit 2021 or receive a full refund.
Hardy still needs to announce the schedule for other related meetings such as the PATA Executive Board, Board, and Category and Advisory Committees, as well as the association’s Annual General Meeting traditionally held on the sidelines of the summit.