PATA Annual Summit concludes

 Minister John Amaratunga, Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Paddy Withana, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai, PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy and other officials at the launch. Picture by Susantha Wijegunasekera

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Summit (PAS 2017), hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, concluded at Jetwing Blue Hotel, Negombo, Sri Lanka recently.

Under the theme ‘Disruption, Innovation, Transformation: The Future of Tourism’, the event also featured a half-day UNWTO/PATA ministerial debate where industry leaders and government representatives discussed the topics ‘The Shift to Recognised Sustainability Leadership’ and ‘The Sharing Economy in Travel and Tourism’.

“We were happy to host the event in Sri Lanka as it would give good mileage to market Sri Lanka as a destination,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “Trends are so positive, and tourism is growing and is expected to grow further. There are a few megatrends coming up which are forming the global economy as well as deciding the future of tourism. These are the aging population, generations Y and Z, and the growth of the middle class.”

The global population is aging and as a result a significant tourist segment is emerging, named ‘silver hair tourists’ with specific desires and needs in terms of customistion, service consumption, security and desired products.

In addition, the arrival of millennials, also known as Generation Y and iGen are also contributing to changes in tourism for the future.

These groups are technology-driven age groups, different from one another, with specific needs for communication, consumption and tourist experience. The increase in average income and the fall in levels of absolute poverty are seen in the growing middle class. The middle class population is expected to increase further, up to 4.9 billion by 2030. These characteristics too, will have a considerable impact on the tourism sector.

“With the development of technology, it is unlikely that they will follow the traditional travel methods.”

PATA Annual Summit 2017, a four-day event, brought together thought leaders and travel and tourism industry professionals from around the world who spoke about the constantly evolving travel and tourism landscape challenged by disruption, continuous innovation and transformation.

Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said that this is the third time PATA is hosting an event of this magnitude. Colombo, Bentota, Kandy and finally Negombo were the venues for the event.

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