Agents' Choice 2020

YOUTHFUL ENTHUSIASM: The future of tourism

“Search, Connect, Experience – the Future of Tourism” is the theme of the PATA Youth Forum, which will take place on April 25 in Bangkok, Thailand. The forum will tap into the insights of industry leaders on how consumers will find, search and connect to travel in the future and hopes to attract hundreds of young professionals and students from overseas and Thailand. The forum begins a day before the 2013 PATA Annual Summit. The theme for the Forum was developed with guidance from Professor Dr JS Perry Hobson, pro vice-chancellor for global engagement at Taylor’s University Malaysia, Malaysia. Dr Hobson observed: “Some 90% plus of people now search online before making and booking their next trip. Today we Google our holiday information and share the travel experience on TripAdvisor. Students not only need to understand the current state of play, but also to focus on the next step of this evolution. After all, we need to think about what is going to help tourists to not only search and find out about a destination — but also to connect more fully with the experiences a destination can offer.” And he continued: “We now have hotel chains that have managed to create millions of hotel rooms that essentially look and feel the same the world over – no matter whether you are in London, Bangkok or Sydney. These hotels now sit alongside vast shopping malls that are also home to the same identikit branded shops, accompanied by identical looking Starbucks and McDonalds. The question is, has our obsession with so called brand standards simply created the “same, same” tourism experience? How can we have the ‘But different?’ After all, isn’t the point of travelling to value and experience the unique aspects of a destination? So what is it we can do to make the hotel and destination experience unique, and why are we not focusing on that? What innovations should we be looking at that can create a sense of place, and turn us away from creating tourism experiences that seem to be increasingly sold on price as a ‘no-name’ branded commodity.” Go to for more.

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