Over 326 delegates from 22 destinations and 10 national tourism organisations (NTOs) gathered in Songkhla in Thailand last week to attend the latest edition of PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2022 (PDMF 2022). The theme of the forum this year was “Building Back Sustainably through Cultural Heritage and Community-based Tourism” and it began on August 2 at the International Convention Center (ICC) in Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand.
The event, hosted by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Songkhla Convention and Exhibition Bureau (SCEB), the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), and the Prince of Songkla University with the support of Songkhla City, 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 in anticipation of the changing expectations of the modern traveller in the post-recovery landscape, says a press release.
It adds that delegates travelled from all corners of the globe including Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Germany, India, Japan, Korea (ROK), Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam.
“By bringing together such a diverse group of travel industry experts, we are convening both the public and private sector to share destination marketing best practices to support the sustainable recovery of the travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region,” says PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera. “Travel and tourism will continue to be a critical contributor to the economic well-being of the region as a whole. Plans for responsible development can only be done through dialog and partnerships between the public and private sector. PATA remains committed to facilitating these discussions. Songkhla as a destination for MICE and leisure travel is an undiscovered gem. We applaud and support their bid to become a UNESCO heritage site,” she added.
On August 3, delegates had the opportunity to join one of three different routes where they could fully experience the region’s community-based/ecotourism offerings. Through a boat ride, hike or city tour, three local communities (Tha Hin Community, Koh Yo Community, and Khao Singhanakhan Community) showcased their signature dishes and delicate articrafts with highlighted their own culture, heritage, and history, says the press release.
At the forum, the delegates heard from a diverse line-up of experts from such organisations as TCEB, DASTA, MMGY, Japan MICE Association, Cvent, BBC Storyworks, Miles Partnership, UNESCO Bangkok, the Sabah Tourism Board, Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Exo Travel Laos Co., Ltd., Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya, Koh Yo Tourism Club, Tha Hin Community, and Steller.
From digital marketing insights to leveraging food for destination promotion, the broad yet critical topics provided a clearer direction for the industry to embrace the new era of travel with greater responsibility and higher consumer-relevancy, it says.
Topics covered at the forum included ‘The Changing World of MICE’, ‘Reinstating Tourist Confidence in Our Destinations’, ‘Lessons from Management and Conservation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites’, ‘Masterclass on Digital Marketing’, ‘Destination Marketing in the Age of COVID-19’, ‘Seizing the Potential of Gastronomy Tourism’, ‘Creative Community-based Tourism: Local Voices for Destination Marketing’, and ‘Always On: The Campaign Never Stops’.