Drawing a large group of think-tanks, government leaders, investors and related stakeholders, the First World Tourism Summit ( www.worldtourismsummit.com ) taking place in Busan, South Korea from October 6-9, 2008, will focus on numerous issues of the industry.
In such timely manner, at a period when the tourism sector faces several challenges including sky-rocketing fuel prices and an economic crunch burdening millions of individual and group travelers who may prefer to stay home rather than cross oceans, the summit will try to offer answers to questions including decisions on investing in tourism, partnership between public and private sectors with providing incentive investment opportunities, investments that have minimized risks, national government and corporate sector working together to protect the local environment and mitigate impact, and last but not least, preparing regions and communities for the tourism impact.
Organized by the Canadian World Trade University Global Secretariat (WTU) and the Tourism Promotion Organization for the Asia-Pacific Cities, the summit will be chaired by the President of Tanzania, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, alongside the secretary general of the summit, Sujit Chowdhury of the WTU.
Chowdhury expects more than 500 global participants from more than 50 countries. “All delegates will be working together to explore new investment opportunities, broaden networks and foster collaboration and innovative projects in the tourism industry,” he said.
Bringing to the table solutions for expanding networks is the summit’s platinum sponsor Pegasus Solutions, a global leader in providing technology and services to hotels and travel distributors. “As technology and economic development around the world take the tourism market to a truly global level, it’s the responsibility of companies like Pegasus to support the summit in bringing together the best and most current investment, management and technology solutions to developing markets,” said David Chestler, senior vice president of corporate business development for Pegasus.
As a company, Pegasus supports trade and tourism as a transaction provider – done through a travel agent or a hotel.
Believing in further resurgence in travel in emerging markets as well as the global market being a part of the World Trade Organization, and the Canadian World Trade University Global Secretariat and the World Tourism Investment Summit, Pegasus will make it possible for more automated transaction and the flow of business in a standard methodology so that hotels do not need to adapt to each country’s technology, but only to the localized customs and languages—making it easier for trade and tourism to take place, said Chestler.
With the tourism summit being focused on emerging markets, and with about 250,000 employees needed over the coming years in China, India, Middle East and Africa , Chestler said there needs to be a resource pool however.
Current issues in travel such as gas prices, the economic meltdown, border and security issues and much more, should not necessarily slow down inbound traffic to America. “If we focus on all the negatives today – ours is becoming a global economy – the marketplace is going to evolve. There’s greater demand for resources than ever before. There’s never been greater request for alternative resources. It is amazing how people are looking for alternative energy. America’s gas prices are too high, for what I used to pay in Europe before; we just can learn from people by collaborating in the summit and talking about these issues with others,” he said.
While ADRs are holding and occupancies dropping in key markets, when we look at travel as a whole, we see people restricting their travel because of cost. However they will get smarter and find different ways of travelling and operating. People will find resellers that will support them by working on ground. People will get more creative, according to the Pegasus VP.
Lesser number of inter-regional travels and more intra-regional exchanges taking place mean more locals coming to touristic spots. It may restrict areas of travel, but Chestler does not think it will be a long cycle as it may have just a few dips.
“In certain economies, in order to operate further in the current market condition, a finite point exists when costs can no longer be reduced unless you increase volume. Contrary to using technology and the management of inventory, each room becomes perishable at the stroke of midnight. Therefore, technology should be used. People around the world can go on the internet in most locations to find somewhere to book. Emerging economies may want to use more mobile platforms such as rails, rather than just airports to connect from point to point,” he said. Meanwhile, Pegasus Solutions has completed its upgrade to its next generation CRS, RezView NG which represents a major leap forward in CRS technology while anticipating the successful upgrade of 1000 more hotels implementing its solutions.
Migrating emerging markets from phone technology to make them use automation can allow hotels to garner business out of the region.
Take a look at China, for instance, though the Chinese, enjoy travelling to Macau and Hong Kong, we see their travel trends to the US and other German cities on the rise. With the Beijing Olympics, focus will be more on this part of the world – breaking down barriers with using local language on the internet and more imagery. Today, it’s all about being creative and thinking outside the box –which has been the limitation of industry for so long and why legacy technology remains, said Chestler.
Pegasus has definitely stepped outside the box and would like to share its experience at the summit in Busan.