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Former Thailand tourism chief elected chairman of PATA

Written by editor

Newly-elected PATA chairman Phornsiri Manoharn believes the association has an increasingly important role to play in the current global economic crisis.

Newly-elected PATA chairman Phornsiri Manoharn believes the association has an increasingly important role to play in the current global economic crisis. She told the Association’s AGM in Macau SAR yesterday (April 19) that PATA will continue to work closely with its very broad membership base.

She also made a firm commitment to support PATA president and CEO Greg Duffell in his drive to deliver added-value to all association members. “For more than five decades, PATA has played a significant role in shaping and enhancing the growth, value, and quality of the Asia Pacific tourism industry. I believe that the real strength of the association lies in its membership across 74 countries – including the national tourism offices of 39 countries, as well as airlines, tour operators, hotels, and cruise lines,” she said.

Mrs. Manoharn retired from her role as governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in March 2009 after a long and distinguished career in public service. She played an exceptional role in directing Thailand’s tourism and provided important leadership to an industry that generates an important and significant contribution to Thailand’s GDP.

Mrs. Manoharn told the PATA AGM:

1. The industry is facing an unprecedented level of crises – and this requires an unprecedented level of unity amongst us all.

2. Intra-regional travel will be our saving grace. There are over three billion people in the Asia Pacific region, and they will travel like never before. I expect cultural destinations such as Nepal and Cambodia to be big winners.

3. I want to see the Asia Pacific region become the most popular destination for long-haul travelers.

4. If we succeed in achieving that goal, then PATA can become the most important tourism association in the world.

5. I believe that PATA is best placed to provide leadership to the industry at this critical juncture.

6. We must elevate the importance of PATA chapters in every country – and convert them into marketing channels.

7. Global warming and climate change remains our most important long-term challenge. We need to make significant changes in the way we live and work.

The new PATA chairman expressed her support to recently-appointed association president and CEO Greg Duffell. “We now have the right person in the right job,” she said.

Mrs. Manoharn also paid tribute to the work of her predecessor Janice Antonson and the commitment shown by the PATA executive committee and board of directors.

Mrs. Manoharn joined the Tourist Organisation of Thailand (TOT) in 1970 and held a number of significant posts in Thailand and overseas. From 1976-1981, Mrs. Manoharn was the assistant director of the TOT’s UK office in London before holding directorships in Singapore (1984-88) and Sydney, Australia (1998-2001). Shortly after her return from Australia, she was assigned as the deputy governor for international marketing and then deputy governor for domestic marketing before her appointment as governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). She attended her first PATA Annual Conference in Tokyo in 1973 and has remained an enthusiastic supporter of the association.

Mrs. Manoharn has also held a number of other executive and advisory positions in domestic and international tourism-related organizations where she has enjoyed many opportunities to share her career experience and knowledge. She is an accomplished lecturer and keynote guest speaker on tourism policy, marketing strategies, and directional trends in travel and tourism.

Her many accolades include the “2008 Outstanding Award for Female Executive: State Enterprise” in Thailand. In addition to holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chulalongkorn University, Mrs. Manoharn has undertaken further studies in administration and executive programs that have given her the inspirational insight and leadership skills to perform her duties.