We, the officers and members of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Philippines Chapter were elated when we learned that Liz Ortiguera was elected as the new chief executive officer of PATA International. Not only because of her Filipino roots, her 25 years of global experience and expertise in general management, marketing, and business development make her a perfect fit for the position.
An alumna of Stanford University Graduate Business School, Columbia University Business School, New York University, and The Cooper Union in New York, she has advocated poverty eradication and education initiatives.
At a recent virtual forum attended by tourism professionals, she laid out her eight-point Tourism Industry Recovery Plan to support both the immediate and strategic needs of our stakeholders who have been severely affected by this 18-month pandemic.
PATA launched in May of this year a Crisis Resource Center which is available to all travel sector members and provides a recovery playbook for all travel-related industries, from aviation to hospitality. It has toolkits on communications, marketing, health and case studies, helping business owners develop strategies to ensure rapid, robust, and responsible resurgence of the travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region.
She has also started a series of roundtable fora, sharing insights and ideas on how to reignite travel amid the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Presented on the virtual stage were select destinations – Hawaii, Maldives, and Thailand, which have already successfully restarted their tourism sectors. Another session featured COVAX/UNICEF with a briefing on vaccine equity, deployment measures and community acceptance strategies. Other interesting discussions have been lined up for the coming weeks.
Workshop-style webinars have also been put up to deliver practical information to industry stakeholders. Upcoming topics are Digital Marketing, COVID-19 Safe Best Practices, Leadership and Resiliency Skills, Destination Development, etc. PATA members were also urged to suggest topics that would best support their own recovery activities. On the PATA website, a Travel Innovation Hub has been included to crowdsource ideas from tourism practitioners from around the globe.
With multiple elements influencing tourism recovery, PATA sees the need for frequent and diverse expert-advised trends and forecast reporting. For this purpose, its vast network of industry experts will regularly deliver expert-sourced intelligence reporting for members worldwide.
PATA lends its support to COVAX/UNICEF in the form of advocacy, industry education, fundraising, and logistics sourcing. It is very important that everybody in our industry realizes the need for vaccine equity and global vaccination.
Since the pandemic has forced the world to pivot, from face-to-face events to online gatherings, PATA now leverages new, engaging technology platforms and content to deliver interesting in-destination hybrid events. These bring the global members together, transcending whatever physical limitations there may be.
Collaborating with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and GIZ (a German development agency), PATA now engages colleagues from World Travel and Tourism Council, International Air Transport Association, Airports Council International, World Economic Forum, and International Civil Aviation Organization to support its vaccine equity initiative as the foundation to the industry’s recovery.
PATA now manages a team of experts who provide a tourism destination resilience framework which will soon be launched in four member destinations, with online resources available across the industry. This project, supported by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, addresses the environment, economy, community, visitors, and health and safety of the destination.
The aforementioned eight-point strategy is in addition to regular global events hosted by the association, either virtually or in hybrid format.
Before the pandemic, the Asia Pacific region was seen registering the biggest growth annually in tourism numbers, which is the reason why PATA and tourism stakeholders in the region are leaving no stone unturned in regaining our pedestal in the global tourism show window. A laudable move, indeed!
And, the fact that this eight-item agendum was crafted by a Filipino mind makes it even more commendable!
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