PATA Youth Symposium empowers the next generation of tourism leaders

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The PATA Youth Symposium, hosted by the Department of Tourism, Philippines, took place on the first day of the PATA Annual Summit 2019 on Thursday, May 9 at the Radisson Blu Cebu in Cebu, Philippines.

Organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Human Capital Development Committee under the theme ‘Progress with a Purpose’, the highly successful event welcomed over 200 participants with local and international students from 21 educational institutions hailing from 18 destinations including Australia; Austria; Canada; China; Guam, USA; India; Indonesia; Japan; Korea (ROK); Lao PDR; Macao, China; Malaysia; Maldives; Philippines; Rwanda; Singapore; Thailand, and Uzbekistan.

Opening the event on augmenting awareness on sustainable tourism and its significance in the Asia Pacific Region, the delegates were welcomed by the Department of Tourism Regional Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, whose keynote speech focused on the Central Visayas Region’s sustainable tourism product offerings and its relevance to the growth of tourism in the Philippines.

Following the insights from the host destination, PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy empowered the participants on their contribution to sustainable tourism and how they can impart strategic methods to solve the issues relevant to capacity management.

Strengthening the delegates’ awareness and pursuit for knowledge expansion, Dr Markus Schuckert, Chairman, Human Capital Development Committee, PATA and Associate Professor, School of Hotel & Tourism Mgmt, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, encouraged the audience to take advantage of their time during the event to meet new people from other destinations and share their stories and experiences with the diverse industry representatives in attendance.

Julieane “Aya” M. Fernandez, Founder, Project Lily Philippines, instilled a call to action into the minds of the delegates, tasking them to aim for excellence in service. With her advocacy on ending poverty, saving the environment through responsible waste management, empowering people and ending the stigma of inequality, Ms. Fernandez emphasized the need for collaboration that focuses on the processes that bridge the ideas of progress and purpose.

Maja Pak, Managing Director, Slovenia Tourism Board, provided a case study of how her destination incorporated the ideas of sustainably into their branding and the growing shift from destination marketing to management.

Dr Robin Yap, Chairman Emeritus, The Travel Corporation, Singapore, and JC Wong, Young Tourism Professional Ambassador, PATA highlighted the need for adoption of sustainable tourism practices through exposure and involvement with other industry stakeholders.

Closing the event, Carma Chan, Content Creator & Editor, PATA, promoted community-based development, highlighting the value of contribution and participatory tourism.

The event also featured an interactive roundtable discussion addressing the question, ‘Knowing that tourism and sustainability are intrinsically linked, what can academia, governments, and tourism organizations do to further empower young tourism professionals to navigate issues around environmental, cultural, and social sustainability?’.