Five things we learned from Arival Bangkok 2019

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Last week, Arival turned the 10th floor Avani Riverside hotel in Bangkok, Thailand into a space packed with information, networking, inspiration, and enjoyment. 

The three-day event included numerous discussions on the Asian tourism market, 12 workshops, and 12 demonstration labs. Although the curtain has fallen on the event, the learnings stay on forever. Here are some  key points:

1. Diversity in the Asian Tourism Market. 

Asia is so diverse to the extent that we can probably say there’s no such thing as Asia. To win Asian travellers over, a business needs to understand the nature, culture and belief of travellers in a particular area within the Asian tourism market instead of generalising all as Asian. 

2. In digital world, customers’ offline experience is even more important.                                          

OTAs should not simply be online reseller of other operators’ products. The customer journey should not end after customer clicked “Buy” or “Book.” It is far beyond that. Focusing on the offline customer experience can set one apart from others in the current fierce OTA competition. 

3. Sustainable tourism does not work right away. It needs a long, continuous process.

Now a buzzword, sustainability is misunderstood by many, especially in terms of business. As Anula Galewska, Responsible Business Manager of the Urban Adventures notes:

“Sustainable business is not just a reduction of plastic. It cannot be done overnight. It has to educate customers, work with locals, and spread benefit from over tourist area to the under touristic places… “

Sustainable tourism is a long-term investment. It includes educating travelers, working with local community, promoting equality, to name just a few. Finally, the benefit will go to both tourism operators and local community. 

4.  Tourism businesses can help preserve near-extinct cultures. 

By working closely with local masters, travel business can help preserve authentic cultures and traditional practices. A travel business can help bridge the gap between a local community and the world, the new generation and the older generation, so local masters can pass on traditional practices to the new generations. Consequently, not only will the local masters and community gain benefit from tourism, but the culture and local practice that have been inherited by tourists and new generations will also live on. 

5. New innovation can come from your personal interest. 

If you are interested in something, you can turn it into your profession, or even new innovation. Easy though this may sound, it requires hard-work, courage and strong passion. 

Hungry for more learnings and insights? Check out the summary highlights from all the key sessions at the most recent PATA Annual Summit 2019:

PATA Annual Summit 2019: Highlights, Videos and Key Takeaways >

The Battle of the UNSDGs: PATA/UNWTO Leaders Debate 2019 >

7 Things We Learnt from the Youth Symposium at PAS 2019 >