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PATA 60th Anniversary and Conference

PATA conference to debate key issues

The PATA 60th Anniversary and Conference offers delegates the opportunity to come to grips with some of the biggest issues shaping the travel and tourism industry.

‘Plenary Three: New Realities of Travel’ will debate current and future trends relating to changing demographics, distribution, aviation, responsible tourism and technology.

As lead presenter, Amitabh Kant, managing director, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, will commence the 90-minute session with a short overview on what he considers the ‘new realities’ facing the travel and tourism industry. In his previous role as joint secretary of the union tourism ministry, Kant pioneered the hugely successful ‘Incredible India’ campaign.

His presentation will be followed by a lively and interactive debate between high-profile executives from each of the different sectors, expertly moderated by CNN anchor Richard Quest.

Representing the aviation sector, Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive officer, Air Asia X, said the sector needs to be more prepared for change. “The airline industry, full of legacy full-service carriers or traditional low-cost carriers that keep hanging on to old practices without keeping an eye on rapidly changing consumer behaviour, technology developments and infrastructure and regulatory landscapes, are in for a rude awakening,” said Osman-Rani.

Discussing distribution challenges, Deep Kalra, owner and founder, MakeMyTrip India, said that his sector is also witnessing great change, with the penetration of the online medium and the concurrent embracing of the concept of e-travel by customers and travel agents alike. Meanwhile, he said that it was imperative for all online players in travel to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy as a novel distribution channel in the travel industry.

“Factors like increased penetration of technologically enhanced handsets, security of mobile transactions through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and, more recently, the introduction of the One Time Password (OTP) have nurtured the growth of the mobile platform,” explained Kalra.

Other panellists include: Min Fan, chief executive officer, Ctrip; Clint Laurent, owner and founder, Global Demographics; Tawaina Turner, director strategic partnerships and alliances, Citibank; Justin Francis, chief executive and co-founder,; Jiwei Xu, president, Huangshan Tourism Development; Fritz Demopoulous, chief executive officer and co-founder,; Matthew McDougall, group chief executive officer and executive chairman, SinoTech Group; Michael Maple, executive director, The Boeing Company.

Breakout sessions later the same day will enable delegates to discuss each of the five topics in more depth.

The PATA 60th Anniversary and Conference takes place from April 9-12, 2011, at the China World Hotel, Beijing. It marks the return, after a five-year hiatus, of the PATA Annual Conference and is a must-attend for anyone interested in the on-going development of the dynamic Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry.

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