Tech in tourism is PATA focus in 2011

September 7th, 2011 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is trying to leverage more technology in tourism, help destinations recovering from disasters and build better business environment as part of its travel trade strategy in 2011.

It is also looking to India as an emerging destination market, whose contribution to the travel trade business in the Asia-Pacific region has been steadily growing in the past decade.

“Travel in the future will be driven by profitability and affordability and India will become a very important market,” interim CEO of PATA Bill Calderwood told the media at the ongoing PATA Travel Mart 2011 here.

“In the past few months, PATA has taken several new decisions to improve business environment. The association is building a strategic intelligence and information centre to provide real time statistical analysis and latest travel trends to member countries,” Calderwood added.

As part of its focus on more intensive use of technology, the association this year will award six prizes to travel trade operators who make the most creative use of social media, he said.

Set up in 1951, PATA is the nodal voice on travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.

At the Travel Mart 2011, the association has brought together 625 cells, 288 organisations, 30 destinations, 302 buyers and 1,200 delegates to the capital.

Commenting on India’s outlook to tourism, the chair of India’s PATA chapter Rajen Habib Khwaja, also the secretary, tourism, said “The government was encouraging tourism projects which promoted socially equitable growth”.

He said, “The country was currently operating 52 rural tourism villages”. “We are planning mega rural destinations, cluster tourism and last mile projects.”

He said, “35 mega clusters were in the process of being developed”.

“India today has emerged as a major 365-day destination and a source market that presents huge opportunities,” Khwaja said.

According to PATA statistics released this week, inbound travel to India has been growing by five percent in the last five years while the outbound tourism market has grown by 12 percent.

Figures made available by PATA for June 2011 said international arrivals to Asia-Pacific destinations have grown by six percent year-on-year.

At the current growth rate, the overall arrival in the region will touch 433 million at the end of the year, up from 408 million last year, the association said in a projection.

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