Ministry of Tourism (MOT) Participates In Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Summit 2017 (PAS 2017)

28 May 2017

Ministry of Tourism (MOT) Participates In Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Summit 2017 (PAS 2017)

Ministry of Tourism (MOT) participated in the 2017 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Summit (PAS 2017) held in Negombo, Sri Lanka from May 18 to 21, hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau along with the Ministry of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs of the Government of Sri Lanka, and was attended by 406 delegates from 191 organisations representing 39 countries.

The theme for this years was “Disruption. Innovation. Transformation: The Future of Tourism,” and included the Association’s executive and advisory board meetings, annual general meeting (AGM), PATA Youth Symposium, PATA Insights Lounge, the UNWTO/PATA Ministerial Debate and a one-day conference featuring a series of panel discussions addressing the threats, challenges and opportunities facing the travel and tourism industry. As one of the members of the PATA Board, Permanent Secretary, Dr Ahmed Salih and Ms Maryam Zeeniya, Executive Coordinator of MOT attended PAS 2017.

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said that the Annual Summit provides a platform which brings together international leaders and senior decision-makers who are working in the Asia Pacific region. He highlighted the importance of strong partnership between the private and public sector to overcome the challenges and issues facing the tourism industry.

PAS 2017 commenced with PATA Youth Symposium 2017, with the theme ‘No Barriers: Millennials and the Future of Tourism’. The symposium was hosted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) and was attended by 130 students, alumni, lecturers and industry professionals from Sri Lanka and overseas.


Minister of Tourism. Lands and Christian Religious Affairs, Hon. John Amaratunga and UNWTO Secretary General, Dr Taleb Rifai gave the opening remarks at the one day conference on Friday, May 19 and the keynote address was given by Mr Rafat Ali, CEO & founder of Skift with the title ‘Managing disruption through innovation’.

In addition, presentations were given by internationally recognised leaders, shaping the global travel and tourism landscape including:
• Aleandre Kwan, Philanthropies Asia Programme Manager – Microsoft;
• Andrew Chan, founder and CEO of ACI HR Solutions;
• Andrew Craig, Head of Corporate Communication India, South Asia and Southeast Asia – Visa Worldwide;
• Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO and Co-founder – Tripfez;
• Greg Klassen, Partner at Twenty31 Consulting Inc.;
• Ha Lam, Co-founder and COO –;
• Jesse Desjardins, Global Manager, Social & Content – Tourism Australia;
• Joe M. Naaman, Senior Executive Advisor – Global Advisory Council, Skylight Intelligence;
• Joe Nguyen, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific – comScore;
• Jeremy Jauncey, founder & CEO – Beautiful Destinations;
• Muna Haddad, Managing Director – Baraka;
• Oliver Martin, Partner at Twenty31 Consulting Inc.;
• Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing APAC – TripAdvisor;
• Thao Nguyen, Head of Strategic Partnerships, APAC – Airbnb;
• Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice President, International Affairs, Office of the President & CEO, Etihad Airways, and
• Wong Soon-Hwa, Regional Director APAC – Blacklane.

Discussions were also held on the following topics:
• The Transformation of Marketing,
• Research Innovation,
• Disrupting the Travel Industry,
• The Real Future of Tourism: Young Tourism Professionals, and
• Embracing Disruption: A Blueprint for the Future of Tourism.

On Saturday, May 20th, a half-day PATA/UNWTO Ministerial Debate was held. The debate was moderated by Ms Yogita Limaye, BBC New Correspondent and Presenter. Representatives from both public and private sector discussed the issues of sustainability and sharing economy in the context of travel and tourism industry. Panellists included:
• Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General – Tourism Malaysia;
• Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO – Nepal Tourism Board;
• Mr. Wander Meijer, Director Asia Pacific – GlobeScan;
• Mr. Hiran Cooray, Chairman – Jetwing Hotels;
• Mr Jon Nathan Pangilinan Denight, President and CEO – Guam Visitors Bureau;
• Mr. Lawrence Leong, Former Assistant Chief Executive (International Group) – Singapore Tourism Board;
• Ms. Thao Nguyen, Head of Strategic Partnerships, APAC – Airbnb, and
• Mr. Erick Stephens, Chief Technology Officer-APAC, Microsoft.
Insights on the most recent travel and tourism industry trends were shared with the attendees by the representatives from leading agencies in various areas related to travel and tourism at the PATA Insights Lounge. The presentations were given Mr Richard Lewis, Partnerships Director Travel and Tourism – What3Words; Mr. Jauncey; Vinoop Goel, Regional Director – Airport, Passenger, Cargo & Security Asia Pacific, IATA; Mr John Schubert, Managing Director – Marketing Asia Pacific and India, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Mr. Stephens; Mr. Nguyen, and Jameson Wong, Director, Business Development, ForwardKeys.
PATA also presented several awards to recognize the contribution of various individuals to the travel and tourism in Asia Pacific Region. These awards included PATA Life Member, PATA Award of Merit, PATA Chairman’s Award, PATA Face of the Future Award, PATA Certificate of Appreciation, and the PATA Honorary Membership Award.

Both the new chairman and vice chairman of PATA were elected and Ms Sarah Mathews was elected as PATA Chairman and Dr Chris Bottrill as Vice Chairman. The PATA Annual Summit 2018 will be held in South Korea.