Next Gen travel industry professionals shared their forthright views with over 150 travel industry students and young professionals at the PATA Youth Forum on April 25 at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
Interactive sessions debated on how new generations are finding, searching and connecting to travel and tourism industry now and in the future.
Peter Jordan, International Relations Officer, WYSE Travel Confederation, the Netherlands, told the audience: "When businesses and destinations are looking for the next best thing in travel and tourism, it's no coincidence that they go straight for the youth market. Youth, student and educational travel is worth US$182bn annually and is attracting attention from beyond the traditional travel and tourism stakeholders.”
He added: “Besides the impressive economic impact that youth travel has on the world's destinations, the social impact is no less important.”
He told the audience that young people cite their number one motivation for travel as the possibility to "explore other cultures…The capacity to enhance global understanding by encouraging young people to travel is considerable too.”
Assistant Prof Dr Glenn McCartney, Hospitality and Gaming Management, University of Macau and Author of “Event Management: An Asian Perspective” addressed the audience on the subject “Experience – Making Events Happen.” He emphasized that successful modern events need a compelling idea from the inception. The best events are highly responsive to the audience, environment, community and the venue, he said.
Ariya Banomyong, Country Manager, Google Thailand said there were five stages that Thai travellers go through in the travel process: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing.
The Forum commenced one day prior to the 2013 PATA Annual Summit and was hosted by the College of Innovation at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
The Forum had the theme, “Search, Connect, Experience – The Future of Tourism.” Participants were from 12 destinations including Bangladesh, Canada, China, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Maldives, Sweden, Thailand, Netherlands and USA.
The Forum opened with a welcome statement by Prof Dr Somkit Lertpaithoon, Rector, Thammasat University and Prof Dr Walter Jamieson, Programme Director, College of Innovation at Thammasat University.
Arrut Navaraj, Managing Director, Sampran Riverside, Thailand made the case for sustainable growth during the forum but said it needed a lot of coordinating forces behind it to make it work properly.
James Mabey, PATA Face of the Future 2013, Senior Director of Development, Marco Polo Hotels said: “In today's fast paced and increasingly interconnected world, young professionals must embrace the spirit of cross-cultural understanding and creative problem solving. Globalisation is a powerful force that will inevitably bring confrontation, but also drive innovation through the disbursement and proliferation of pioneering ideas. The future belongs to those young professionals who will boldly challenge tradition and capitalize on the opportunities of our new interdependent global society.”
The PATA CEO Martin Craigs told the audience that PATA was “walking the talk” on its next gen commitments. Positive proof was the association's support for young professionals and student chapters.
The Youth Forum theme and content was developed by Prof Dr J S Perry Hobson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, Taylor's University, Malaysia.
Peter Jordan summed up the day: “I congratulate the PATA Youth Forum for making a valuable contribution to the discussion on how to improve the complete visitor economy. We look forward to working with PATA and its members to maximise the positive impacts of youth travel in the future."The PATA Youth Forum concluded with a cocktail party at Siam Center in Bangkok. The party was hosted by Siam Center and supported by Thai Bev.