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Mario Hardy: Asia is the fastest growing region in terms of outbound tourism and presents tremendous opportunities as source market for Middle Eastern destinations. Therefore, I invite all industry stakeholders to come and join us in Langkawi and see for yourself.

Motaz Othman, M.I.C.E Middle East >> PATA has played a tremendous roll in The Travel and Tourism Industry to, from and between Pacific Asia Region, Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO has some views about PATA activities and the coming PTM2018 in Langkawi, Malaysia, he said in an Interview with MICE Middle East:

Q: May we know about PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) today after around 70 years in regard of activities for responsible development of travel & tourism to, from and within Asia Pacific Region.  
A: We live in a fast-changing world and tourism is experiencing phenomenal growth globally. PATA is also constantly evolving and adapting to respond to the increasing demands of both the public and private sectors. We are seeing demands for more thought leadership on various issues affecting the industry as well as assistance in developing responsible and sustainable businesses. 
Q: The coming PTM2018 is for sure an excellent and big event for the Asia Pacific region in general and for Malaysia as a hosted country in particular, can you let us know about the program, workshops during PTM, number of participants and countries?
A: This year, in addition to the normal B2B sessions, we have a large number of side events that will be taking place during the event including the Travolution Asia Forum, the WTFL Start-Up Innovation Camp, the PATA Youth Symposium, and the Twin Cities World Tourism Forum, to name a few. You can view the entire list of side events here.
In regard to the total number of delegates attending PTM 2018, official figures will be release during the event, but, as always, we will be welcoming more than 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries to the beautiful island of Langkawi. 
Q: Can we say that PTM2018 is an event to exchange travel and tourism business and to educate travel experts about sustainable and responsible tourism? 
A: PATA Travel mart (PTM) started 41 years ago primarily as B2B trade event where people conducted business over one-to-one meetings. Over recent years, the event has evolved and became not just a place for business but also a place for learning, the exchange of ideas and inspiration. 
Q: Asia Pacific, in general, is the most attractive destination for Middle East travellers and Honeymooners, and as PATA is acting as a not-for-profit association, can we know how PATA is connecting and reaching Middle East Region? and what can be done more in this regard?
A: The organization organized the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart earlier this year in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, the first time it has been held in the region. The event was a tremendous success and gave the opportunity for Asian tour operators to discover this unique destination. We hope PATA can bring more events to the region in the future and showcase all it has to offer to travel businesses from Asia and the rest of the world. If there are any destinations out there who would like to host a PATA event, we would love to hear from them. 
Q:  May we know about coming PATA events that you recommend to Middle East Travel experts?
A: In November, we are organising the PATA Destination Marketing Forum in Khon Kaen, Thailand from November 28-30, hosted by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The format of the event is unique, as it is delivered through a two-day collaborative and informative programme consisting of a one-day conference and a day of on-ground activities known as the Technical Tour and Tourism Marketing Treasure Hunt. The Tour provides delegates with an unprecedented opportunity to explore the region’s natural landscapes and cultural treasures. 
In addition, we will be organising our training workshop, PATAcademy-HCD, during December 11-13 in Langkawi, Malaysia with the theme ‘Going Green: How to Run a Sustainable Resort’. The 2.5-day training session focuses on the tools, resources, and business practices to accelerate the adoption of eco-friendly policies and practices among hotel operators. The workshop will be led by sustainability experts from the award-winning Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa (FLGK), which has been championing sustainable practices and environmental protection for the past thirteen years. Through the workshop, FLGK will share examples of practical, easy-to-adopt ‘green’ practices that can be applied at hotels, resorts, schools, and even your own home, through an interactive training programme.
Most importantly, next year, I would invite Middle East travel experts to join us in Cebu, Philippines for our key thought leadership event, the PATA Annual Summit 2019 from May 9-12. The PATA Annual Summit brings together international thought leaders, industry shapers and senior decision-makers who are professionally engaged with the Asia Pacific region. The Summit embraces a global forum for enhancing the sustainable growth, value and quality of tourism.
Q: Finally, may I kindly ask an answer in one line please, what would you say to Middle East Travel experts about your coming PTM2018to encourage them to attend?
A: Asia is the fastest growing region in terms of outbound tourism and presents tremendous opportunities as source market for Middle Eastern destinations. Therefore, I invite all industry stakeholders to come and join us in Langkawi and see for yourself.

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