Ministerial Debate with the Private Sector on Pacific Island Tourism

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), in partnership with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), will hold the PATA/UNWTO Ministerial Debate on Pacific Island Tourism in Guam, USA on May 21, 2016. The event, generously hosted by the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB), will be held at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort.

During the high-level debate, representatives from both the public and private sector will discuss how they can better align their actions towards a common set of goals and what an ideal island destination would be. 

The first panel discussion on ‘Merging Motivations’ examines the different motivations and goals for the government and private sector. Speakers will analyse the areas where they overlap and discuss how to better align them to create a better pathway for growth.

The second panel session, ‘Cloud Nine – The Ideal Island Economy’, will delve into the notion of an ideal island economy, as the choices that shape the complete visitor economy of an island have a direct environmental and cultural impact upon the destination.

PATA CEO Mario Hardy said, “Preliminary figures from PATA indicate that 38 destinations in the Asia Pacific region welcomed 537.8 million international visitor arrivals in 2015 and that number is expected to reach more than 650 million by 2020. While this growth is surely impressive, it becomes imperative that both the public and private sector work together to ensure sustainable and responsible growth of the travel and tourism industry. The UNWTO/PATA Ministerial Debate is the perfect platform for bringing together both parties to work towards these goals.”

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said, “Islands are home to some of the richest marine and land biodiversity on earth. Because of this, they are also a top destination for millions of tourists each year. The special geographical situation of islands makes them unique, but at the same time this poses a number of challenges for them including sustainability, climate change, air connectivity and positioning islands as top choice destinations in the minds of tourists. This Ministerial Debate will serve as an important preparatory exercise for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly”.

“This is the first time PATA and the United Nations World Tourism Organization are coming together to host this historic meeting in the Pacific. The discussion of important issues, such as global warming and sustainable tourism, are very relevant to the region as well as the global tourism industry,” said GVB Executive Director Nathan Denight. “Guam has been a regional hub in the Pacific for hundreds of years, and in this modern age, we are America in Asia and the perfect destination for high level meetings. We look forward to welcoming all the delegates and guest speakers to our island paradise.”

PATA and the UNWTO are especially honoured to have Marshallese poet, writer, artist and journalist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner officially open the debate. Her poetry focuses on raising awareness on issues and threats faced by the people of the Marshall Islands. She has performed at the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris.

Other confirmed speakers include Honourable Minister Alain St-Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Seychelles; Andrew Dixon, Owner, Nikoi and Cempedak Islands; Derek Toh, Founder & CEO, WOBB; Gerald Lawless, Head of Tourism and Hospitality, Dubai Holding; Jon Nathan Denight, General Manager, Guam Visitors Bureau; Mark Schwab, CEO, Star Alliance; Morris Sim, Co-Founder & CEO, Circos Brand Karma; and Zoltan Somogyi, Executive Director for Programme and Coordination at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Delegates registering for the conference during the PATA Annual Summit 2016, hosted by GVB, enjoy complimentary access to the event. For more information, or to register for the event, please visit