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PATA CEO Challenge 2008

Historic climate change event underway in Bangkok

More than 230 delegates representing many of travel and tourism’s most innovative and forward-looking organisations are convening today (29 April) in Bangkok, Thailand for an historic industry event about climate change. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change opened this morning with a message from HE Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, and a 10-minute video message from…

More than 230 delegates representing many of travel and tourism’s most innovative and forward-looking organisations are convening today (29 April) in Bangkok, Thailand for an historic industry event about climate change.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change opened this morning with a message from HE Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, and a 10-minute video message from Dr RK Pachauri, Chair of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“Climate change is a deal breaker,” said outgoing PATA Chairman Brian Deeson, as he welcomed senior travel and tourism industry leaders to the new Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.

“Forget the scientific polemics”, he said. “Our customers are the issue; and they are not happy. They believe we’ve been apathetic on this issue. Or worse: that we’ve been ‘in denial’. So today PATA is leading the way for us to be accountable to our customers, and to ourselves; to help us stand up and say: “We are taking this issue seriously”; to demonstrate that we are working together to share the best solutions around; and to collaborate on those we haven’t yet discovered.”

At the core of the PATA CEO Challenge are the Boardroom Challenges, with 11 industry leaders presenting climate change initiatives and solutions in a rapid-fire format, followed by breakout sessions in which delegates discuss ways they can either adopt solutions or collaborate on the initiatives.

PATA President and CEO Peter de Jong said: “We want the Challenge to be interactive (to hear from all panellists and delegates); collaborative (to explore which of the initiatives can be adopted by organisations); and actionable (to facilitate ways for delegates to work together on initiatives after the event).”

Tomorrow, PATA CEO Challenge facilitators Anna Pollock and Rohit Talwar will summarise the outcomes of today’s Boardroom Challenges. In addition, the one-and-a-half-day event will feature a series of interactive plenary sessions: “Environmental Regulation: Preparing for the Inevitable”; “Sharing the Airline Burden”; and “Redefining Growth”.

In his welcome message this morning, Mr Deeson thanked the Tourism Authority of Thailand and all of the event’s sponsors, supporters, advocates, moderators, panelists and delegates for their “commitment to action”.

He added: “Over the next day and half, we can tell the world that we may not have all the answers, but that we are pro-actively in search of them. That we are determined to reduce our eco-footprint not just because we fear a customer backlash, and not just because we fear government regulation, but because we know it is the right course of action.

“Perhaps more than any other industry we possess both the motivation and the ability to help protect our planet. Let’s make the most of the opportunity.”

More than 50 international and local media had pre-registered for the Challenge and many more local media registered today for the morning session. 

PATA has been working with its “Carbon Consultant” Green Globe, which is applying its science and systems to help significantly reduce the carbon footprint of key elements of the CEO Challenge. (See more on this in the release entitled “PATA Takes up the Green Challenge”.)

Co-Founder & Managing Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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