Bangkok, Thailand, August 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / PATA CEO, Liz Ortiguera, shared an email to our network of valued PATA International Members on Aug 19, 2021 with details about her top priorities. Her message has been reposted below:
I am writing this approximately two and a half months into my tenure as CEO, with the world about 20 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel sector in a long-awaited, slow-starting recovery. Daily cases are still escalating in parts of Asia-Pacific, and I hope you and your family are staying safe and taking all necessary precautions.
Since starting, I’ve had great opportunities to meet (albeit virtually) with various stakeholders within our association and the broader sector. Most importantly, I’ve had the chance to listen to the status of various destinations and members, monitor the ever-changing policies to mitigate risk, and identify opportunities for PATA to best support our members during this crisis. We’re aware of both the urgent and strategic needs of our valued members and the industry. Like many of you, I’ve felt the pandemic’s impact both personally and professionally. I initially had my livelihood directly impacted and have been separated from seeing close family members for over 18 months. Since joining PATA, I have been inspired by the diversity and strength of the network, see great potential and am confident we can drive progress together in this recovery.
With this in mind, I’m sharing now PATA’s 8-Point Industry Recovery Plan to support both immediate and strategic needs.
1 – PATA Crisis Resource Center :
Launched in May 2020, this resource centre is available to all travel sector members and provides recovery playbooks for all travel industries (aviation to hospitality) with toolkits covering communications, marketing, health, policy and case studies.
2 – Government Members’ Only Roundtable:
Earlier this month, PATA launched a roundtable series to share insights and exchange ideas across destinations on restarting travel. The first session of this series featured presentations by select destinations, including Hawaii, Maldives, and Thailand. The second session just held on Aug 17 featured COVAX/UNICEF with a briefing on vaccine equity, deployment measures and community acceptance strategies. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to support our destination members by sourcing subject matter experts and supporting a pan-regional and global dialogue to support the industry recovery.
3 – Innovation Workshop Series and Innovation Hub for Members:
We’ve just launched an Innovation Series of workshop-style webinars designed to deliver practical information to members. Upcoming topics will range from digital marketing, COVID-19 Safe best practices, leadership and resiliency skills, destination development, etc. You hopefully saw our member survey for ideas on topics and we would continue to welcome your ideas for future sessions. We’d like to hear suggested topics that would best support your recovery.
On our website, please also check out our new Travel Innovations Hub – crowd-sourced travel innovation ideas from around the globe. This site is meant to engage and inspire our members. Please send us any interesting innovations you’ve launched yourself, experienced or simply read about to add to this collection.
4 – Ongoing Industry Trends and Forecasts for Members:
With the ever-changing status of multiple elements influencing our recovery, PATA recognises the need for frequent and diverse expert-advised trends and forecast reporting. Through live webinars and research reports supported by our vast network of industry experts, we will continue to regularly deliver expert-sourced intelligence reporting to keep you informed.
5 – Vaccine Equity Initiative supporting COVAX/UNICEF :
A foundational element to our recovery is vaccine equity, deployment, and acceptance across the region and beyond. PATA is proud to provide its support to the COVAX/UNICEF initiative in the form of advocacy, industry education, fundraising and, if required, logistics sourcing. PATA International Members, Chapter Members and Youth Members are invited to join in the session “Webinar | The Race to End the Pandemic: Ensuring Global Vaccine Equity” on Wed, Aug 25 to understand the importance of vaccine equity and what UNICEF/COVAX is doing to drive global vaccination.
6 – PATA Global Community Connections:
Like the rest of the world, PATA was forced to make a big pivot from offline/real life interactions at physical events to online webinars. We’ve started hosting hybrid events and will continue to a) deliver engaging in-destination physical events wherever possible and b) complement it by leveraging new, engaging technology platforms and content to bring the members together globally and in smaller forums to support your business development. The strength and depth of the connections built is a core element to the PATA heritage and value proposition and we will find ways to transcend boundaries to continue that.
7 – Knowledge Share / Collaboration with Global Organisations:
We are in regular collaboration with World Bank, ADB, GIZ and other development organisations/consulting firms on industry leading topics to support the recovery. We regularly engage with the Global Tourism and Travel Task Force meetings along with leaders from WTTC, IATA, ACI, WEF, ICAO and others. PATA is looking forward to engaging more industry colleagues in supporting the COVAX/UNICEF Vaccine Equity initiative as a foundation to the industry recovery.
8 – Tourism Destination Resilience:
In April PATA launched a project to respond to the need for a more resilient tourism industry that addresses not only the current COVID-19 pandemic, but the next crisis that will surely follow. PATA is managing a team of 20 subject matter experts to provide a framework that will be launched in four PATA member destinations, with online resources available across the industry. The project addresses pillars of resilience including: Environment, Economy, Community, Visitors and Health & Safety. The project is implemented by PATA with support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The above is in addition to the delivery of regular events – hosted in either a virtual or hybrid format. We currently have 6 scheduled for the balance of the year with more in development.
I view this as just the beginning of our journey to leverage our vast network’s strengths to support each other in this challenging recovery. Pre-pandemic Asia-Pacific was viewed as the engine for growth in the global travel industry. That high potential and the pent-up demand is still here with us in the region. I’m confident that we’ll emerge better and stronger with a sharper focus on sustainability. We’re working hard to help accelerate this industry recovery and will continue to support you and the broader industry in capturing Asia-Pacific’s opportunities with responsible travel and tourism.