PATA seeks adventure in a new era in Al Ain, UAE

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The PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2018 began on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 180 delegates from 33 countries in attendance for the three-day niche event.

The event, which was organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and hosted by the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, brought together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry from both the private and public sectors to discuss the issues and opportunities in travel and tourism.

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “The event aims to be a catalyst for generating new ideas and improving collaboration between public and private sector organisations. Throughout the Asia Pacific region, the Association understands the need for all stakeholders to work together in planning, building and promoting the uniqueness and diversity of each country’s offering. PATA is honoured to work with the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi in organising this event, which highlights their commitment to the responsible and sustainable development of the travel and tourism industry.”

On Thursday, February 22, delegates heard from a diverse line-up of international speakers at the one-day conference under the theme ‘Adventure in a New Era’. The 15 pioneers, thought leaders and change-drivers who are shaping the emerging landscape of the adventure travel industry, examined various conference topics that covered ‘2018 Adventure Travel Trends – looking ahead to 2021′, ‘Partnerships for a New Era’, ‘New Operators for a New Era’, ‘The Middle Eastern Adventure Traveller’, ‘Micro Moments:The secret to always winning in an era of Facebook and Instagram’, ‘Stimulating Innovation in a New Era’, ‘LocalHood: The end of tourism’, and ‘OverTourism: Loving Destinations to Death’.

The conference was opened by H.E. Sultan Al Matawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director – Tourism Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi. Other speakers included Achiraya “Achi” Thamparipattra, CEO and co-founder – Hivesters; Ahmed Samra, Product Development Manager – Wild Guanabana; Ali Mokdad, Founder & Chief Creative Officer – Creative Animals Content Creators; Elaheh Peyman Granov, Senior Project Manager – Wonderful Copenhagen; Jesse Desjardins, Director – fwNation; Karma Lotey, Chief Executive Officer – Yangphel Adventure Travel & Zhiwa Ling Heritage Hotel; Manal Saad Kelig, Co-founder – GWE Companies; Michael Youngblood, Co-Founder – Unsettled; Nishchal Dua, Founder & CEO – Remote Life; Norie Quintos, Editor at Large, National Geographic Travel and Independent Communications Consultant; Richard Devadasan, General Manager – Business Development, Royal Arabian Destination Management; Shannon Guihan, Director – Bannikin Travel & Tourism; Simon Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer – Orbital Systems, and Willde Ng, Founder – 40urs.

Dr. Mario Hardy concluded, “As the UAE celebrates the Year of Zayed, marking 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, it is fitting that delegates will depart this event with a much greater appreciation about the UAE and Al Ain. As one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, they will understand that the destination has attractions and activities to suit travellers of all types, from its green oasis, archaeological sites and forts to its adventure activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking and go karting.”

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.