By Rafiq Vayani
KOTA KINABALU: The PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2020 began on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, with 107 international delegates from 30 countries in attendance for the three-day niche event, comprising a one-day-travel mart and one-day conference.
The event, which was organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and hosted by Tourism Malaysia and supported by Sabah Tourism and Malaysia Airlines, brought together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry to explore the nuances, trends and dynamics of one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors.
On Thursday, February 14, delegates will hear from a diverse line-up of speakers at the one-day conference under the theme ‘Ahead of the Curve: Authenticity and Sustainability in Adventure’. The innovators and pioneers, who are shaping the emerging landscape of the adventure travel industry, will examine various conference topics that cover ‘State of Adventure Tourism’, ‘Who Are Our Adventure Tourists?’, ‘Creating Meaningful Adventures’, ‘Sustainable Elephant Experiences’, ‘How to Use Responsible Travel Initiatives to Attract Adventure Tourists’, and ‘Starting Small: How to Integrate Adventure Elements into Your Tour.’
This year’s conference programme also features two concurrent hands-on workshops on Sustainability and Authenticity, led by Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO of Greenview and Dan Moore, CEO of Pandion Consulting & Facilitation, respectively.
The conference will be opened by YB Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia.
“We are very pleased to be given the honour to host PATA this year, whose theme ‘Authenticity and Sustainability in Adventure’ is in line with our aspirations to highlight Malaysia’s outdoor and adventure attractions to cater to the growing adventure tourism market while adhering to responsible travel initiatives,” commented the Minister.
Other confirmed speakers include Graham Harper, Director – Sustainability & Social Responsibility, PATA; Irshad Mubarak, Owner, Junglewalla Tours; Jessica Yew, Co-Founder & Director, Sticky Rice Travel; Natasha Martin, Adventure Tourism Expert; Pakkanut Bansiddhi, DVM, MSc, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Companion Animals and Wildlife Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University; Raj Gyawali, Founder, Socialtours, and Theerapat Trungprakan, President, Thai Elephant Alliance Association.
“The event aims to be a catalyst for generating new ideas and improving collaboration between public and private sector organisations,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “By bringing together such a dynamic and diverse group of speakers, we hoped to highlight the need to discuss, analyse and share various ideas with both the public and private sector in planning, building and promoting a responsible travel and tourism industry,” he added. The B2B trade mart on Friday, February 14 will welcome 65 sellers from 51 organisations and 46 buyer organisations.