The 54th PATA Annual Conference closed today with speaker Mr Vincent Lo drawing from his own experiences to describe how to “build success”. Mr Lo is Chairman of Shui On Holdings, a group engaged in property, construction and construction materials and which has successfully created value for destinations through leisure and lifestyle property developments.
Mr Lo asserted that tourism and property development are parallel industries. “Tourism and property development can go hand-in-hand,” he said. “Success in both is based on some common fundamentals: people, environment, culture, architecture, facilities and supporting services.”
The closing session of the Conference also saw a reshuffle among PATA’s Officers. Japan Airlines Executive Officer Mr Nobutaka Ishikure is PATA’s new Chairman for 2005/2006, replacing outgoing Chairman Mr Ram Kohli. Every year the chairmanship of PATA rotates among the Association’s three major of categories of membership: Carrier, Government/Destination and Industry. PATA Chairman-elect during 2005/2006, representing the Government/Destination category of PATA membership, is Tourism Australia Director-International Marketing Mr Richard Beere.
Hospitality Link-up Director and PATA Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Mr David Paulon takes the office of PATA Secretary/Treasurer, replacing Accor Greater China CEO Mr Brian Deeson who held that office for two terms.
Mr Paulon delivered the 2004/2005 PATA Foundation Address, during which he provided background to the Tsunami Recovery Fund and described projects to which money has been pledged.
During the course of three days of the Conference, delegates heard that while forecasts for the next three years were positive – PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre predicts average growth of 10.6% per year in international arrivals to Asia Pacific – there were several pressing challenges facing travel and tourism.
Threats and challenges identified by PATA’s ongoing Total Tourism Survey included bird flu, terrorism, environmental degradation and the ability of tourism infrastructure to handle one of the world’s fastest growing industries. An interesting preliminary finding of the survey is that bird flu is perceived by tourism professionals as a greater potential threat than SARS. Respondents were also worried about future terrorist activity, with the majority saying that governments should pay for security.
To pre-empt and be prepared for most of these challenges, delegates learned that it was essential for tourism stakeholders to develop credible and targeted communications strategies.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Mr Giovanni Bisignani, during his keynote address, identified cost-reduction and simplification as keys to a sustainable and profitable future. He singled out monopolistic airport pricing and government tax policy as key fronts in the battle for airlines to remain profitable. He also called on IATA and PATA to join forces and bring other industry stakeholders together.
Panellists on the well-attended “Windows on China” session agreed that the China (PRC) and Japanese governments needed to initiate reconciliation in the wake of anti-Japanese demonstrations in China (PRC).
The 55th PATA Annual Conference will take place in Pattaya, Thailand in 2006.