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Inaugural PATAcademy scores highly in independent survey

The independent audit / overview of the PATAcademy-HCD was compiled by Mason Florence, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), and was based on questionnaires completed by 22 out of 24 of the PATAcademy’s attending participants.

BANGKOK – An independent statistical survey of the inaugural PATAcademy-HCD shows that the participants rated the interactive four-day programme very highly and would recommend it to travel industry colleagues.

From December 11 to 14, 2013 the first ever PATAcademy-HCD was held at the PATA Engagement Hub at PATA headquarters in Bangkok. The event, an intensive, hands-on workshop focusing on Human Capital Development, was led by an accomplished panel of experts representing, among others, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Amadeus, Bangkok Airways, TripAdvisor, Malaysia Airports, Khiri Travel, Bangkok Hospital, Aloft Hotels, Sanctuary Resorts, Siam Center, LOHAS, and PATA itself.

PATAcademy-HCD attracted a widespread and diverse mix of 24 rising stars from 13 destinations. All participants were keen on becoming a ‘Certified Asia Pacific Visitor Economy Expert’.  Of the attendees, 14 of 24 came from regional National Tourism Organisations, while others represented airlines, airports, hotels and travel agencies and educational institutions. Academics from 13 destinations across the PATA region attended, from Guam to Kazakhstan.
Workshop attendees included professionals from Tourism Malaysia, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Singapore Tourism Board, Nepal Tourism Board, Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, Plaza Premium Lounge Management, Lao Airlines, Malaysia Airports, the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, the Macau University of Science and Technology, Discover Lodge, and Anantara Vacation Club.
The interactive four-day programme combined a series of intensive classroom interactions with leading travel industry practitioners with field visits in and around Bangkok, including to the illustrious Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School, Siam Center and Siam Niramit.
In analysing the combined results, speakers at PATAcademy-HCD ranked very highly, each scoring no less than four out of five for excellence on criteria including ‘knowledge of the subject’, ‘engagement in delivery’, ‘encouraging participation/discussion’ and ‘providing clear answers and comments’. Overall, attendees reported being very satisfied with all presenters and not one participant expressed any speaker ranking below ‘satisfied’.
One of the key messages expressed by participants in regards to recommendations or changes for future events was, simply put, ‘Make it longer’. Several participants expressed a desire to have more time for interaction in the workshops and for sharing presentations relating to each topic or destination.
Koh Shi Ling from the Singapore Tourism Board agreed the programme “could be slightly longer, e.g. five days, to incorporate more topics and go into greater depth.”
Sumala Chowdhury from Tiger Tours concurred: “The course should be a little longer, perhaps five days long, allowing participants to better network and bond.”
Mohd Faizal Md Haris of Malaysia Airports added: “It can be one or two days longer, with more hands-on experience.”
Perhaps most telling from this first ever workshop, 21 out of 22 participants surveyed revealed they would ‘very likely’ recommend the PATAcademy-HCD to colleagues in the future. This bodes well for PATA’s aim to organise further six-day PATAcademy-HCD sessions in 2014.
PATA CEO, Marin Craigs, who attended the PATAcademy-HCD, thanked the participants and told them in a December 20 letter: “Your positive spirit and real engagement was felt by all the PATA team in Bangkok. Your participation was a great way to round out a very positive and productive year for PATA next generation.”

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