The PATA Destination Experience Forum and Mart 2023 (PDFM 2023), with the theme “Sustainability in Action”, officially began
on Wednesday, June 21 in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, attracting 272 delegates from 28 destinations.
The event, organised in collaboration with destination partners, the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry & Performing Arts of Sarawak, the Sarawak Tourism Board, and the Sarawak Convention Bureau, brought together delegates from the public and private sectors for inspiring and insightful discussions on some of the major issues in marketing and managing tourism growth as the travel and tourism industry looks for new opportunities to promote sustainability within the industry.
Delegates travelled from all corners of the globe including Australia, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (ROK), Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA.
“The PATA Destination Experience Forum and Mart 2023, under the theme “Sustainability in Action” is extremely relevant as the industry begins its road to recovery. Climate change and over-tourism are existential threats to Pacific Asia’s visitor industry. Coming out of COVID, there are really only two options: ignore the environmental and social consequences of mass tourism in a business-as-usual manner; or seize the opportunity to recalibrate how we measure tourism success and account for its invisible burden. As we look towards the future, we need to take concrete actions and avoid the mistakes of the past,” said PATA Chair Peter Semone. “It is this type of collaboration with our destination partners, the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry & Performing Arts of Sarawak, the Sarawak Tourism Board, and the Sarawak Convention Bureau, that epitomizes the fundamental nature of PATA’s mission in acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. We as an industry must work together to create a better future for all by achieving long-term sustainability in conjunction with long-term growth and profitability.”
Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) CEO Sharzede Datu Hj Salleh Askor said,” Sarawak is the perfect venue for PDMF 2023 in highlighting on Ecotourism, Gastronomy Tourism, Adventure Travel as these themes are very much aligned with Sarawak’s tourism philosophy that emphasises on Responsible Tourism, gastronomy and sustainability in its effort in making Sarawak a preferred eco-tourism destination, in the region.”
“I am happy that all delegates will have an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with Sarawak’s tourism industry stakeholders as well as from around the region to understand more on the importance of adopting sustainable practices, such as waste reduction, recycling, and responsible resource consumption, to minimize the negative environmental footprint of tourism while enhancing the overall visitor experience,” she added.
On Wednesday, June 21, delegates had the opportunity to join one of three different routes where they could fully experience the destination’s responsible tourism, ecotourism, and gastronomy tourism offerings that highlighted Sarawakian culture, heritage, and history.
During the conference on Thursday, June 23 and June 24, delegates will hear from a diverse line-up of experts from such organisations as World Tourism Organization, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the Asian Ecotourism Network, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation, Intrepid Travel, Expedia Group Media Solutions and Sojern, as well as Audra Morrice, Masterchef Asia/and Singapore Host & Judge, to name a few.
From climate action strategies to digital marketing, the broad yet critical topics provided a clearer direction for the industry to embrace the new era of travel with greater responsibility and convert their plans into action.
Topics include ‘Sustainability in Action’, ‘Climate Action Strategies for Destinations & Operators ‘, ‘Recalculating the Measurements of Success’, ‘Tourism’s Role for Development ‘, ‘The Power of Gastronomy Tourism for Destinations ‘, ‘Setting Your Sustainability Goals and Executing them’, ‘Leveraging New Trends in Sustainable Forms of Tourism’ and ‘Using Digital Marketing to Drive Sustainability’.
Over these two days, buyers and sellers will also have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one networking and contracting opportunities during the table-top tradeshow to explore potential collaborations and business opportunities.