Transcending Climate Change


The PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum, held in the city of Legazpi in the Philippines, recently ended after a successful series of presentations themed as “Ecotourism — Transcending Climate Change.”

A total of 541 delegates from 20 countries attended the event, which ran three days in late November.

The forum convened experts in various fields of ecotourism that are key to meeting the challenges of global climate change. Delegates from both the public and private sectors shared insights and experiences on ecotourism, adventure travel, climate change mitigation, crisis management, risk reduction and digital marketing.

They came from all corners of the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
PATA CEO Mario Hardy chaired the proceedings and said “It is important for our industry to be committed in combating climate change, and share a meaningful dialogue on making productive changes for the sake of future generations.”

The choice of Albay province and its capital of Legazpi was especially appropriate, given that it was named Top Destination in the category of Regions/States/Provinces as part of the 2015 PATA CEO Challenge.

This is in keeping with PATA’s primary advocacy policy of dispersing tourists to lesser-known yet attractive corners of the world. This priority meets the growing problem of over-visitation by tourists to popular destinations û and the environmental issues that follow.

“A major issue facing us at present is the large number of tourists who come to certain destinations,” said Hardy. “We have to find ways to disperse these tourists to other places.”

The payoff for winning the PATA CEO Challenge is a partnership with TripAdvisor to develop and create a digital marketing campaign, valued at US$500,000, to showcase the destination to a global audience.

Delegates to the forum were given the opportunity to see some of attractions in Albay as part of a Technical Tour and Tourism Marketing Treasure Hunt. They were separated into teams and asked to take photos and videos during the tour, then share them on Instagram and Twitter. Highlights of the tour included the dramatic geography of the conical Mayon volcano, which dominates landscape views. The user-generated content generated over 700 photos on Instagram and over 2,000 social media mentions in total.

A sail boat anchored in the bay fronting the Mayon volcano in Albay province, in the Philippines. Albay has been recognized as the Top Destination in the category of Regions/States/Provinces as part of the 2015 PATA CEO Challenge.

Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA, and wife Rouma Bhautoo (centre) with some of the delegates at the New Tourism Frontiers Forum in the Philippines recently, including (far left) Julia Monroy, vice-chair of PATA student chapter in Manila, Jose de la Paz, chairman of the chapter (far right), and Zane Smith, the development manager for Ecotourism New Zealand at Tai Poutini Polytechnic (next to Rouma).