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PATA Announces New Executive Board

Picture: Top Row: L/R: Peter Semone, President & Founder, Destination Human Capital Ltd, Timor-Leste/Indonesia; Suman Pandey, President, Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure, Nepal; Luzi Matzig, Chairman, Asian Trails Ltd., Thailand; and Noor Ahmad Hamid, CEO, PATA Bottom Row: L/R: Ben Montgomery, Director of Business Relations Management, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand; Henry Oh, Chairman, Global Tour Ltd., Korea (ROK); Noredah Othman, CEO, Sabah Convention Bureau, Sabah Tourism Board, Malaysia; Mayur Patel, Head of Asia, OAG, Singapore; Gerald Perez, Vice President, Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam; and SanJeet, Director, DDP Publications Private Limited, India.

PATA announced new leadership: Peter Semone as Chair, Suman Pandey as Vice Chair, and Luzi Matzig as Secretary/Treasurer. The board also includes representatives from various travel sectors.

BANGKOK – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the ratification of the new PATA Executive Board. Peter Semone has been formally endorsed and will serve as the Chair of the Association’s Executive Board for a consecutive second term.

Following his appointment, Mr Semone said, “It is an honour to be elected by members of the PATA Board of Directors to lead the Association for a second term. Thanks to the strong commitment of the Secretariat staff and outgoing Executive Board members, over the past two years significant progress has been made in regard to PATA’s finances and management. Much work remains to be done and I am confident that the new Executive Board will rise to this challenge.”

Mr Semone is a leading tourism development expert specialising in the Asia Pacific region. He has served in leadership roles for international donor funded projects in Timor-Leste, Lao PDR and Vietnam and is frequently called upon as a short-term expert for UN Tourism and the Asian Development Bank. He is the founder of the internationally acclaimed Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) vocational school. After graduating from Ivy League colleges (UPENN and Cornell), he resided in Indonesia in the 1990s where he established several tourism enterprises and served as an expert tourism adviser to the Government of Indonesia. Mr Semone is widely published in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to tourism marketing and destination human capital. He has also authored tourism policies, strategies and action plans for destinations at regional, national and municipal levels. In his free time, Peter enjoys spending time with his family in Bali and California.

During the 73rd PATA Annual General Meeting on Friday, June 7, 2024, PATA also ratified Suman Pandey, President of Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure, as the new Vice Chair, and Luzi Matzig, Chairman of Asian Trails Ltd., as the new Secretary/Treasurer of the Association.

Suman Pandey is a well-known figure in Nepalese Tourism and President of Explore Himalaya Travel and Adventure, a well-known name for diverse and innovative operations. He is also the CEO of Fishtail Air, a Nepalese helicopter company; Director of Summit Air, a fixed wing operator catering to tourists going to the Mt. Everest area; Director of the biggest business complex in Nepal, “Chhaya Centre”, a multi-faceted Mega Complex that includes a five star managed by Starwood under the “Aloft” brand; President of the Himalaya Academy of Travel and Tourism, an academy imparting tourism related vocational trainings, and President of Himalayan Pre- Fab Pvt. Ltd, a company specialising on making eco-friendly prefabricated homes.

His remarkable contributions in the Nepalese Tourism Industry have made him eligible for various titles and decorations including “Suprasidha Gorkha Dakshin Bahu” from the King of Nepal in 2004; “Tourism Icon” by the Nepal Association of Tourism Journalists in 2018; a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by tourism publication Gantabya Nepal in 2017; “Tourism Man of the year” by Gantabya Nepal in 2010; and a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for contributions in tourism by the “American Biographical Institute” (ABI) based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA in 2008, to name a few.

Luzi Matzig began his career with Swissair ground operations in Zurich, Switzerland, and had subsequent postings in London and Berne. In 1971, he moved to Thailand and worked for Diethelm Travel in Bangkok, rising to General Manager and later Group Managing Director overseeing operations in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Yunnan/China. In September 1999, he founded Asian Trails Ltd. and is currently the Chairman. The Asian Trails Group now operates 33 offices with over 500 staff across Thailand, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Vietnam.

In addition to managing Asian Trails, Mr Matzig is involved in the cruise and hotel industries, with ventures including Cruise Asia Ltd., Paradise Ko Yao Resort, Treehouse Villas, Legend Chiang Rai Boutique Resort and Spa, Paradise Beach Samui Resort, SUNSET HOUSE, and the Royal Sands Koh Kong Resort. He established VIP Jets Ltd. for executive air transport in Asia. Mr Matzig serves on the Board of the Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce, where he was President for 2.5 years, and has held leadership roles in the PATA Thailand Chapter.

Members of the Executive Board for this term include Ben Montgomery, Director of Business Relations Management, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand; Henry Oh, Chairman, Global Tour Ltd., Korea (ROK); Noredah Othman, CEO, Sabah Convention Bureau, Malaysia; Mayur Patel, Head of Asia, OAG, Singapore; Gerald Perez, Vice President, Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam; and SanJeet, Director, DDP Publications Private Limited, India.

Additionally, PATA CEO Noor Ahmad Hamid remains on the Executive Board as an Ex-Officio member.

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