The 40th edition of PATA Travel Mart 2017 (PTM 2017), hosted by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), has attracted 1,131 delegates from 66 global destinations. The delegate numbers embraced 460 sellers from 252 organisations and 37 destinations, along with 293 buyers from 281 organisations and 51 source markets. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) also was pleased to welcome 37 young tourism professionals including PATA Student Chapter members from Hong Kong Polytechnic, Singapore Temasek Polytechnic, China Zhejiang Gongshang University, University of Guam, Nepal, Macao SAR and Canada Vancouver Capilano University. PTM 2017 officially opened in Macao SAR on September 13.
PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy paid tribute to warm and sincere welcome offered to all delegates by the host city. “It was very recently that Macao was hit hard by Typhoon Hato and, while recovery works are continuing, the city’s return to normality and amazing welcome is testament to the resilience of its people.”
MGTO Director Ms Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said, “Each year, PATA Travel Mart helps to bring to the limelight the host destination, and for this edition Macao is excited to take the opportunity to show our new tourism attractions that have come into operation since we last met in our city in 2010.
“As Macao welcomes PATA Travel Mart 2017, its 40th edition, we are encouraged that, together with MGTO, around 30 of our local tourism operators are participating at the travel mart, and taking advantage of PATA’s valuable network to engage with their counterparts from the Asia Pacific and beyond. On the other hand, we are glad to see our next generation of tourism professionals involved in the travel mart through PATA Youth Symposium, hosted by the Institute for Tourism Studies, and by contributing as volunteers at the event.”
PTM 2017 also welcomed the SheTrades Pavilion hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC). SheTrades, a flagship initiative of ITC, provides women entrepreneurs around the world with a unique network and platform to connect to international markets.
The official opening ceremony on Thursday, September 14 was conducted by Dr. Alexis Tam, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of Macao SAR Government and Chairman of the Macao Host Committee of PATA Travel Mart 2017, accompanied by Mr. Ip Peng Kin, Chief of Office of Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of Macao SAR Government; Ms Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office; Dr Chris Bottrill, PATA Vice Chairman; Dr Mario Hardy, PATA CEO; Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General of Tourism Malaysia, and Mr. Li Jianping, Director of Asia Tourism Exchange Center of China National Tourism Administration.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. Tam remarked that, “There is a fierce global competition in the travel and tourism market nowadays. However, the significant number of participants in PATA Travel Mart indicates the high interest of the global tourism industry in the region. The 40th anniversary of the event this year will mark an important milestone and consolidate PATA as a leading international tourism leader in Asia Pacific. With the changing face of tourism, I encourage PATA members to focus on delivering the best opportunities and working to build this important global industry together.”
Alexis Tam also noted that, “blessed with the tremendous growth-by-tourism windfalls in the last decade, Macao is poised to chart a course to the next level of developing into the World Centre of Tourism and Leisure. On one hand, we are committed to broadening our tourism offerings and diversifying visitor source markets. On the other, we value education and training as a sustainable way to improve industry standards and service quality. In Macao, we have long fostered an efficient public and private sector co-operation in the tourism industry. The collaborative link is important in promoting initiatives as well as tackling problems by stakeholders engaged in a system, in times of good and when times are bad. A very recent example we have here. After Macao was hit by the strongest typhoon in recorded history last month, tourism department and the travel industries communicate and collaborate to minimize the setbacks and ensure the competitiveness of our tourism market.”
Addressing a media briefing at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, the official venue for the event, later that morning, Dr. Hardy observed, “As we come together for the 40th edition of PATA Travel Mart it is only fitting that we can mark this occasion with such a strong partner as MGTO which has been an invaluable member since 1958. From sponsoring the PATA Gold Awards for the past 22 years to hosting the PATA Annual Conference in 2005 and PATA Travel Mart in 2010, MGTO is a constant and highly valued contributor towards PATA’s mission to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.”
Dr Hardy also praised the Travel Weekly Group for co-organising the Travolution Forum Asia: ‘Redefining the Travel Experience’, and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association for co-organising the Blogger and Key Opinion Leader Forum. The events, held on September 13, allowed delegates to gain further insights into travel industry trends.