BANGKOK – Latest figures released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) indicate year-to-date growth, although positive, is down over the same period in 2007. These year-to-date numbers are for international arrivals into 39 destinations in the Asia Pacific region.
A physical count of arrivals tells only one side of the story, however, as there are industry reports filtering in that suggest the current economic climate and a number of other factors are taking their toll on the length of time visitors are spending in a given destination, as well as on the revenues generated by these same visitors.
Furthermore, a number of forward indicators suggest that the next 12 months could be even more difficult. Already, airline operating figures from IATA show that air carriers in Asia and the Pacific saw reduced numbers in August (-3.1%) coming in right on the back of a softening demand in July (-0.5%).
“Wall Street is having an impact as well on the travel industry. As the Dow Jones slid drastically last week, a number of tourism-related stocks – particularly publicly-listed airlines and hotels – followed suit. The last few weeks show how the fortunes of the travel and tourism industry are tightly connected to overall business sentiment,” said Mr. John Koldowski, director – Strategic Intelligence Center, PATA.
“Under these conditions, good market intelligence becomes an increasingly significant driver in making successful business decisions” he added.
Given the current uncertain and volatile economic environment, this is precisely why PATA is hosting the Tourism Strategy Forum, an event focusing on best practice in research and its application in the development and execution of tourism strategy.
Taking place in Kunming, China (PRC), on October 30-November 1, 2008, the PATA forum will focus on best practice in research and its application in the development and execution of tourism strategy. Over two full days, delegates will attend five informative and interactive workshops, as well as participate in a China-focused seminar.
According to Forum lead presenter, Mr. David Thexton, partner, Insignia Marketing Research, “Market research actually flourishes in tough economic times because marketers know they have to dig deeper to better understand consumers and what motivates them. At the PATA Forum we will share new techniques that we have developed for the Canadian Tourism Commission which identifies what buttons to push with travel consumers and how to motivate them.”
Continuing, Forum panellist, Mr. Doug Shifflet, chairman & CEO, D.K. Shifflet and Associates, said, “Market research is critical in market strategy to avoid poor decisions resulting in loss of time, money and strategic advantage. Avoiding such loss is as important as leveraging positive positioning on the upside.”
The international event is being planned in cooperation with the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration and the Kunming Municipal Tourism Administration. It is sponsored by leading tourism research firms, Insignia Research and DK Shifflet and Associates and formally endorsed by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).
Highlighting the importance of the PATA Forum, Forum panellist, Dr. Grace Pan, head, Travel and Leisure Research at ACNielsen China, said, “Tourism managers need to be far more proactive than before in the challenging marketplace. While the industry is facing many challenges in the years ahead, how to leverage research to better understand travelers and develop products accordingly becomes even more important than before.”
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry.
PATA provides leadership to the collective efforts of nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, more than 55 international airlines and cruise lines and hundreds of travel industry companies.
PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Center (SIC) offers unrivalled data and insights on the travel and tourism industry, including Asia Pacific inbound and outbound statistics, analyses and forecasts, as well as in-depth reports on strategic tourism markets.
For more information, please visit www.PATA.org .
ABOUT THE PATA TOURISM STRATEGY FORUM 2008
Taking place in Kunming, China, October 30-November 1, 2008, global strategic marketing and research experts will lead five informative workshops (and an optional China-focused seminar) stimulating participants to share and debate best practice. PATA will create an atmosphere of frank, open discussion and collaboration, where international and China-based delegates will be able to network with peers.
PATA is encouraging senior-level research; marketing and planning professionals from national, state/provincial and regional tourism boards; airlines; hotels; airports and attractions/operators to participate in this important and timely forum.
Although the event will be predominantly focused on the Asia Pacific context, global travel and tourism industry trends and issues will be discussed.
Registration for the Forum is FREE and space is limited. Full program and registration details are located on www.PATA.org/forum .