The PATA 60th anniversary and conference concluded last week after a successful four days of meetings, panel discussions, and special events.
Hosted by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the Beijing Municipal Government, the event took place at the China World Hotel in the central business district of Beijing.
During the course of the conference, 1,000 delegates from all over the world, including many PATA Chapter heads, came together to discuss the state of tourism in the Asia Pacific region, discover new opportunities, and develop sustainable business relationships.
The event was marked by a general sense of bonhomie and joie de vivre as members caught up with each other to recall tales and anecdotes from these past sixty years of history. PATA members were also happy to see the resurrection of the conference, after a long hiatus of five years.
For the closing session, futurologist Ray Hammond discussed the future of tourism and shared his thoughts on what would become of it in the next 20-to-30 years. In this session, he discussed the seven key factors that would affect the future of tourism namely, population; climate change; the ongoing energy crisis; globalisation; developments in medical science; accelerated and exponential technology developments, and the future role of the disenfranchised 1.8-billion people throughout the world.
Hammond’s speech was then followed by a brief note from Bill Calderwood, interim CEO, PATA, wherein he reflected on the lively debates and sessions that formed a large part of the conference. Calderwood touched on one of the key challenges that had been discussed, which was the issue of human resources.
“We have heard Amitabh Kant point out that there is currently a worrying imbalance between managers (78%) and skilled workers (22%) and Michael Maple too mentioned that, in aviation alone, 126,000 pilots and a quarter of a million mechanics will be required to meet the growth in the sector. In a subsequent session, lead presenter Geoffrey Lipman, along with the panellists, discussed the importance of training and education for the future of our industry. The issue of how tourism was frequently a ‘last resort’ career for many young people was brought up and it was discussed how an organisation like PATA should take the lead in promoting tourism as an attractive career choice,” said Calderwood.
He concluded the PATA 60th anniversary and conference by mentioning the gracious hospitality of CNTA and the Beijing Municipal Government and thanked the Chinese dignitaries, ministers, and the many guest speakers that lent their voice and support for the event.
Following his speech, complimentary copies of the book ‘My PATA My Story,’ especially compiled to celebrate 60 years of the association, were distributed to all attendees, offering a unique insight into the various personalities and events that have shaped PATA over the past six decades. From personal memories to after-hours incidents, humorous anecdotes and more serious recollections, the book contains contributions from some of PATA’s longest-serving members, staff and associates.