PATA Youth Symposium: A Student’s Perspective

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This article is guest authored by Abilkhay Zhansaya – Volunteer, Student and Participant at PATA Youth Symposium at PTM 2019. PATA supports youth empowerment and human capital development for the sustainable future of tourism.


The Youth Symposium is more than just an official conference with PATA representatives. If officially the event started at 9.30 am for all guests, for student volunteers it started at 7 am. We started work early not because of the order of the organizers, but because of our desire which originated from the first days of meeting our foreign guests. It should be noted that the main guests of the event are very bright personalities and experts in the field of tourism. It was very interesting for all participants to listen to the guests, ask questions, work in a group and discuss different topics. All guests and participants at registration received a certificate and a small special gift.

After the solemn speech of the host, Galym Makhmejanov, who is a Doctor of Sciences and professor at the University of KAZGUU, the presentation of sponsors, PATA representatives and speakers began. In addition, a thematic gift was presented to the University of KAZGUU and the Kazakh Tourism, that was brought from Thailand itself. And also, on behalf of all Kazakh tourism, a unique gift with a national design was presented too. After that, the speech and presentations of speakers who spoke about themselves, about their projects, worldview and opinions about tourism, began.

The first was Vasil Khomko from Ukraine who is a creative producer, director of various interesting projects related to the development of tourism. He spoke about his one of the most successful projects related to Kazakhstan, which was born in cooperation with the Kazakhstan organization Salem Media, which promotes various works in social media and the Internet space. The joint project is called ‘Sayakhattandyrylmagandyktarynizdan’ which translated into English means because of not the trip (lack of travelling). The project makes a high-quality video for various social media where the main characters are Kazakh grandmothers who travel around the world and share their impression with the audience. All videos are a mixture of positive emotions, feelings and impressions. Thus, not only various tourist destinations are being promoted, but also the national trait of the Kazakh nation. All the heroes of the video are modest and old women who have never been abroad. Their invaluable reaction to the outside world and the exchange of cultural values ​​with different nations very captivates all viewers. 

The second speaker was Jason Lin, the Founder of Talent Basket. Jason shared with his life story and how he came into the tourism industry from the business sector. He moved from the middle class to America where he expanded his horizons and learned new skills while studying at the University, and he was lucky enough to work in India where he realized that his profession is already associated with tourism, as he travels and promotes IT professionals in America, then he met with PATA where his digital projects used for the benefit of sustainable development. PATA was the reason for his personal and professional development after a small career crisis.

Then came Rika Jean François, who is a representative fromGermany responsible for sustainable development. She spoke about the positive and negative impact of tourism on various spheres ranging from ecology to sociology. In her opinion, tourism has great potential that needs to be developed in the right direction, together with sustainable development principles, as environmental problems are the most important in our lives. And it is today’s youth that is the generation that can suffer because of environmental problems. The most important thing is not to leave the words as theory but to start acting and lead joint useful projects.

 After a small coffee break, foreign and Kazakh students interacted during the presentation of Stephanie Wells who is a Professor at Capilano University. Stephanie started her presentation with Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Then she did a little psychological test where the participants closed their eyes for a few minutes and imagined their future in 2030.  After this, according to the most important 5 areas the participants were divided into groups where they worked in pairs and then in group where they had a discussion on the topic. Then one representative of each group presented the opinion about the problem and possible solutions. After the successful completion of the presentation on behalf of the groups, Stephanie made a conclusion about sustainable development and solving global problems in tourism and finished the first part of the forum where there was a lot of useful and significant information.

There was a lunch break where PATA representatives, speakers, as well as foreign students had a tasty meal and had a conversation on various topics. We volunteers were also part of the festive meal where we shared our opinion and had an interesting conversation.

After lunch, the second part of the event began, where students from partner universities of expressed their opinions. Each of them spoke about his volunteer and project experience related to solving global problems and developing tourism. During the presentation, a number of advanced proposals and methods were used that attracted the attention of all participants. In addition, after each presentation, questions were asked and discussions were held between the participants of the Symposium. Then, to work together and share experience, the mentors who are representatives of the PATA and the speakers of the symposium took turns in conversation and exchanged contacts with students.

I also took part in this networking where I talked with different and interesting people who are specialists in their field. And each of them was happy to work together in the future. After several conversations, the symposium came to an end after which all the moments and participants were captured in the photo. 


The PATA Youth Symposium at PTM 2019 was held on Wednesday, September 18 at M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, with the theme ‘From Beginning to End: How Stories Connect Us’.

The Symposium is organised by PATA’s Human Capital Development Committee in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kazakh Tourism National Company and M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University.-

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