PATA event “brings agenda of ethical tourism to mass tourism”
The Pacific Asia Travel Association’s annual travel mart, PTM 2014, taking place this week in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, is responding to a shift towards selling experiences rather than destinations by launching a new Responsible Travel Pavilion at the show.
Over a thousand delegates have converged on the event, taking place from September 17 to 19. A dozen exhibitors come under the platform dedicated to responsible and sustainable travel including Khiri Travel, Wild Asia, Sampran Riverside, Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Messe Berlin.
Wild Asia, for example, conducts clinics and seminars that “aim to bring the agenda of ethical tourism to the mass tourism business players”, according to Amy McLoughlin, its responsible tourism awards manager and associate specialist.
Seeking to address any misperceptions that agencies may have, McLoughlin said: “Occasionally travellers may consider responsible tourism as ‘slumming it’. Of course, there are many inspirational responsible tourism initiatives that are at a much more grassroots level than some may be comfortable to frequent. But responsible luxury is possible too. Delicious local produce, intricate handicrafts, welcoming staff and a clean environment are just some possible attractive benefits of a committed responsible tourism operator.”
Meanwhile, Khiri Travel “continues to work on improving our footprint in our daily operations, and that of our suppliers,” said CEO Willem Niemeijer, who explained how the company contributes to communities through its charity Khiri Reach: “We leverage our business network to link donors and volunteers with NGOs and community service projects that need the help.”
He added: “Society has become aware of the enormity of global environmental and social problems. Responsible travel is a way to manage this stress on planet and people. To spread the bounty of the tourism boom, we need creativity and coordination between the public and private sector.”
[photos courtesy Khiri Reach]