This would be a good title for a science fiction story, however it is real! 180 countries represented, 45.8 km walked, 17,251 calories burned, and hundreds of hands shaken with people from all 4 corners of the globe. Of course I am referring to my past few days at the largest travel fair in the world “ITB Berlin”. This was my second time in Berlin, although the last time there were 2 Germanys and a wall separating them, and my first time attending ITB Berlin. I had been warned that the event is well attended and the exhibition space is large, an understatement, as it is massive!
At the event I had the opportunity to meet friends, PATA members, partners, industry celebrities and most importantly make new contacts. As most people, we were there to network and prospect for new members/partners and we now have lots of follow up required in the coming days. The number of side events (seminars, workshops, meetings, trainings and gatherings) was beyond belief. Navigating between one exhibition hall and another was a real challenge and I admit that I got lost a few times.
PATA hosted a reception and a lunch, which were attended well beyond our expectations. However for me the highlight of the week was our PATA Chapter meeting which was eye opening for me. I was very pleased to hear from the chapters about their past/future activities and to see how proud they were of the PATA brand. The German Chapter revealed to us that their reach extends to over 27,000 travel agencies and 430,000 consumers during their various road shows they organise every year. This made me realise that PATA combined with its worldwide chapters has a reach and influence far greater than I would have thought, a force that has been unexploited and one that I am keen to grasp. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and therefore by standing together we can achieve so much more.
Over the coming weeks and months I intend to reach out to all chapters and start engaging with them more frequently. Keep following me on my journey to hear more about it…
Till next time,
Chief Executive Officer