Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PATA forum to tackle climate change impact on ecotourism
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 25 (PNA) -- All roads are leading to Albay as delegates to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) across the world will be convening in this premier city for an international tourism conference to discuss climate change's impact on ecotourism starting Wednesday here.

This is the first time that the Philippine government, through the Provincial Government of Albay, in partnership with the Department of Tourism, will be hosting the PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum to be held at The Oriental Hotel from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the province is ready to assist some 500 foreign guests from Asia Pacific regions.

Albay has partnered with the DOT to host the elite tourism confab to promote the country’s ecotourism destinations, specifically in the countryside, to present ecotourism at the core of a sustainable development strategy, Salceda said.

“Albay was chosen as venue for the prestigious event because of our remarkable achievements in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management as well as among the country’s most vibrant and the fastest-growing destinations after rising above natural disasters,” the governor said.

PATA's forum has for its theme “Ecotourism: Transcending Climate Change.” The three-day event brings together professionals to share their insights and experiences in marketing and managing tourism growth to lesser-known destinations for sustainable growth and development of travel and tourism.

“Mitigating the impact of climate change through massive upland and coastal reforestation and people strong cooperation is part of our overall development strategy in Albay,” Salceda said.

He said climate change adaptation becomes an investment with huge economic returns in the long-run.

"That is why we are at the frontline of confronting the escalating impacts of climate change,” the governor added.

The annual meeting aims at making professionals gain first-hand experience in discovering and promoting attractions and tourism products and services that are relatively unknown to the global market.

The PATA is one of the biggest known organizations of travel and tourism players in the Asia-Pacific Region.

It has been the leading group in the industry for past 60 years under the umbrella of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Last year, the country, through Albay province, also hosted the UNWTO which was tagged by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb D. Rifai as one of the best events in the world.

Earlier, the Provincial Government of Albay (PGA) WON THE 2015 PATA CEO CHALLENGE’S TOP DESTINATION AWARD IN THE REGIONAL-PROVINCIAL CATEGORY AND SHARES HALF OF THE US MILLION PRIZE WITH THEKKADY, KERALA, INDIA, WHICH WON IN THE SECOND OR THIRD-TIER TOWNS AND CITIES CATEGORY.

SALCEDA PROJECTS THAT TOURIST ARRIVALS IN ALBAY WILL FURTHER SURGE AFTER PATA’S PARTNER TRIPADVISOR WILL HAVE WORKED OUT THE PROVINCE’S TOURISM MARKETING STRATEGY, WHERE ALBAY’S SHARE IN THE PATA CEO CHALLENGE US MILLION PRIZE WILL BE INVESTED.

PATA, THE PREMIER TRAVEL ORGANIZATION IN THE ASIA PACIFIC, HAS CLOSE TO 1,000 ASSOCIATE GROUPS, EDUCATION AND HOSPITALITY AGENCIES, TOURISM DESTINATIONS, AS WELL AS CORPORATE, GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRIAL LINKS; AND ABOUT 70 AVIATION CARRIERS AS PARTNERS, A TOURISM OFFICIAL HERE SAID.

MARIA NINI ONG-RAVANILLA, DOT BICOL REGIONAL DIRECTOR, SAID THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT, THROUGH ALBAY PROVINCE, BID AND WON THE HOSTING OF THE ANNUAL PATA CONFAB IN BHUTAN LAST YEAR.

SHE SAID SOME 500 PARTICIPANTS HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED FROM ASIA AND THE PACIFIC COUNTRIES, MOSTLY TOUR OPERATORS FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR, FOREIGN MEDIA, TOURISM AND DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICIALS. (PNA)
FPV/FGS/RBB/CBD/EDS