BANGKOK, April 29, 2015 — The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Youth Symposium commenced on the morning of April 23, 2015 at Sichuan Tourism School, Huanglongxi campus in Chengdu, China. Under the theme “Technology and Social Media for Tourism”, the Symposium commenced prior to the PATA Annual Summit 2015. Over 200 students, lecturers and industry professionals from China and overseas including delegations from PATA China Zhejiang Gongshang Student Chapter, China; Institute For Tourism Studies, (IFT) Macau SAR; and PATA Bangladesh Dhaka University Student Chapter, Bangladesh participated in the dynamic Symposium.
The programme was developed with guidance from Dr Chris Bottrill, Chairman of the PATA Human Capital Development Committee and Dean, Faculty of Global and Community Studies,. Dr Bottrill noted that the PATA Youth Symposium was a great success. He stated that, “We were able to share knowledge of experts and generate conversation from teachers and students on the way that technology and social media is rapidly changing our tourism industry. A key goal was to learn how tourists from around the globe have the capacity to impact the success of businesses and destinations through social media, and specifically, how this is affecting China. We discussed how students will influence the development of tourism through technology and social media in the future. A key goal of all youth symposiums is to engage the next generation of tourism professionals in dialogue with PATA on compelling tourism issues and have fun in the process. We were enlightened by the thoughtful, insightful and positive energy of all participants at this successful event.”
The Symposium opened with welcome statements by Ms Zhao Bo, Vice Director of the Tourism Administration of Sichuan Province, and Mr Zhao Xiao-hong, Professor and Schoolmaster, Sichuan Tourism School, who both welcomed international industry professionals to the Symposium and thanked PATA in organising the PATA Youth Symposium 2015 at the Sichuan Tourism School.
Mr Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, PATA, said, “On behalf of PATA, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Sichuan Tourism School and the PATA Annual Summit Host Committee for their strong support and hospitality in hosting this successful PATA Youth Symposium. The Symposium was a great platform for students to exchange ideas and network with experienced industry professionals who provided valuable insights for the next generation of our industry.”
“Technology and social media can help us share experiences and tell the stories and legends of destinations to entice people to go and explore them. Europeans coming to Leshan want to know who built the giant Buddha, why was it built, when was it built, and what are the legends that have been passed on from generations to generations. We all need to become better story tellers and digital ambassadors of our destinations,” Mario added.
Ms Han Yuling, Secretary of China Tourism Vocational Education and Teaching Guiding Committee, Professor of Beijing International Studies University, China, told the audience on the improvement of quality practitioners to enhance Chinese vocational education to reach international standards.
Ms Sarah Mathews, Destination Marketing Senior Sales Manager APAC, TripAdvisor, Hong Kong SAR, delivered an interactive plenary talk to demonstrate how on-line consumer reviews have tremendously affected the travel and tourism sectors as well as destinations. TripAdvisor as the world’s largest travel site has over 6,000 unique users looking at reviews every second of everyday. Student participants dynamically shared their ideas on the uniqueness of their destinations that can be highlighted to attract travellers.
Mr George Cao, Co-founder and CEO, Dragon Trail Interactive, talked about “Digital Marketing and Travel Distribution Emerging Trends for Chinese market.” George noted that, “Travel technology and social media has changed the way we work. To maintain competitiveness, it is vital for travel and tourism professionals to keep themselves abreast of technology changes, keep leaning and be curious.”
Ms Ivy Chee, Regional Director – East Asia, PATA, presented on “PATAmPOWER and other on-line data sources to enhance business success.” Ivy shared some tips for young travellers when travelling to destinations including respecting and protecting the heritage and culture of a destination, saving the environment, and supporting sustainable tourism of destination.
In recent years, the PATA Human Capital Development Committee has organised successful educational events at various institutions including UCSI University Sarawak Campus (April 2010), Institute for Tourism Studies (September 2010), Beijing International Studies University (April 2011) and Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur (April 2012), Lyceum of the Philippines University, Manila (September 2012), Thammasat University, Bangkok (April 2013), Chengdu Polytechnic, Huayuan Campus, China (September 2013), Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai Campus, China, (May 2014) and Royal University of Phnom Penh (September 2014).
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 87 government, state and city tourism bodies, nearly 31 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 61 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 43 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which includes ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, WEF, UNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney, Dubai, and London. Visit www.PATA.org.
ABOUT SICHUAN TOURISM SCHOOL
As one of the earliest established tourism schools in China and a subordinated state-owned school of the Tourism Administration of Sichuan Province, Sichuan Tourism School has an extremely strong reputation in the tourism talent training field. Founded in Chengdu in 1979, it is not only a vocational school, but also the on-the-post training center and the evaluation office for travel industry in Sichuan Province.
The school consists of two campuses, respectively the Rennan campus and Huanglongxi campus, which covers an area of 308.5 mu (planning area of 534.5 mu) and building area of nearly 80,000 square meters.
The Operation and Management of High Star-level Hotel major of Sichuan Tourism School has been identified as one of the first batch of national model base by the Ministry of Education. The school is also designated as national training base for department manager of tourism hotels, national financial-supported tourism training base, tourism backbone-teacher training base for secondary vocational schools in Sichuan Province, professional standard maker of Tourist Attractions Service and Management major and Tourism Service and Management major as well as director of Tourism Service and Management Professional Committee of Tourism Industry Steering Committee of the Ministry of Education.
The Huanglongxi campus of the school, which is a garden campus built as an AAAA – level tourist attraction, creates an ideal learning environment for all the students in the school.
During the past 36 years, as a market demand-oriented school, Sichuan Tourism School has cultivated more than 30,000 tourism graduates and trained more than 50,000 tourism personnel, most of who have become the backbone of tourism industry in Sichuan Province and the whole country, even abroad.
Manager – Communications