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PATA at 40: Intimate size, roving nature

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Mart innovates while keeping core characteristics
PATA Travel Mart marks its 40th edition this year since its 1978 inception in Manila. But PATA CEO Mario Hardy concedes that change is needed for this core event in the face of growing competition from other Asia-Pacific tradeshows.
The 40-year existence of the show is its “greatest achievement”, Hardy says, but adds that the time has come for the mart to transform in order to stay relevant and unique.
“There are ideas, but we haven’t finalised what PTM will be like in the future. We know it has to change and we have to do some significant changes to the format because there are too many similar shows already.”
Building PTM as a platform of “knowledge sharing” is what Hardy has tried to achieve, with seminars, workshops and forums underscoring the tradeshow in recent years.
At PTM 2017, to be held in Macau on September 13-15, the Travolution Forum Asia will focus on technology and digital marketing while AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes is confirmed as a special guest speaker, Hardy tells TTG Asia.
There will also be a new PATA branded app, which will enable users to not only access PTM content but other PATA events throughout the year. In this way, delegates will not lose valuable contacts and also build on them in future.
But the mart will keep its cornerstones of staying relatively small and roving across different host destinations from year to year.
“It’s not the largest show and we don’t aim to be the largest; we’re small and intimate, which makes it easier for people to network and do business together as opposed to running from one place to another,” Hardy stated.
“In the last three years we have been promoting the importance of showcasing the secondary cities. There are far too many tourists in capital cities and we need to push them away to other destinations,” he said, acknowledging that PTM’s destination choices have come under criticism from the industry.
TTG Asia

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