Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PATA Moving In Positive Direction Under New Leadership

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Greg Dufell, the new president and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), headquartered in Bangkok, described in an exclusive interview on February 25 some of his ideas on how he will go about revitalizing the organization and trying to help improve the overall performance of the travel sector in this vital region. Since part of PATA’s original mission statement reads “we enhance the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region,” working to improve the travel industry in the region is one of the core tenets of the organization.

In a lengthy interview session Mr. Dufell touched on many subjects and displayed a comprehensive grasp of the travel industry which he developed over the years working within the industry in the private sector with companies such as Thomas Cook and Indochina Services Travel Group among others. He also was involved several years ago with a Silicon Valley software company startup which expanded his hi-tech knowledge base. Based on some of the ideas he expounded upon for his vision of the future of PATA, this experience will probably be as valuable to his upcoming efforts as his travel industry knowledge.

When asked what his key objective would be in his new position he unhesitatingly replied, “Engaging with our members on a much greater basis and reversing previous trends. The priority is to increase the opportunity for our members to network.” And, according to him, new initiatives by the organization will have to address two basic needs to be considered for implementation: “Will they help to retain membership and will they help us to sell something or help the members. We need to get back to basics.”

He also sees PATA’s role as being a leader in encouraging investment in the travel industry by the private sector and possibly even helping to educate the private sector in certain areas through seminars and events. What may be little known about the organization outside of the membership is the fact that PATA collects and processes tremendous amounts of raw data in regard to travel statistics among its member countries. For example, arrival and departure cards that are filled out by travelers to member countries are processed and analyzed by PATA and the information supplied back to the relevant governmental organizations such as tourist boards and tourism marketing arms such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand. And this is only a small part of their overall efforts.

This information can be extremely valuable to members who have access to it through their membership in the organization. Private operators can use it to try to predict future trends in the industry and make plans about investments and potential developments. In an economy as uncertain as the current one, in particular, this type of information can help to pinpoint where investments could be made. Additionally, the information can be used to refine marketing plans, especially in the area of trying to identify new niche markets to target, a strategy that will have to be adopted by many operators who are trying to supplement the loss of business that they have encountered during the recent global showdown.

And, as alluded to above, Mr. Dufell’s IT background will be useful in the coming months as PATA explores ways to upgrade the effectiveness of its website ( and make it more interactive for members and non-members alike. Other plans include the possibility of creating a business to business platform as an adjunct to the website that will allow members to more effectively network and do business with each other and there are other ideas on the horizon as well that could be implemented and are now in a long-range planning status.

Overall, Mr. Dufell seems to be bringing a new direction to this organization that was founded in 1952 by a group of travel industry visionaries who were interested in taking advantage of a relatively new technology of of their day – the passenger jet airliner – to develop the Asia-Pacific travel market. Mr. Dufell’s challenge will come to great degree from his ability to harness the new technology of the present day – the internet – to forge a greater opportunity for cooperation and interactivity amongst the members of PATA than has ever been seen before. Judging from the energy and passion for the travel industry that Mr. Dufell displays, along with his sterling credentials, it is likely that he is the right man in the right place at the right time.


Tags: | | | |

No comments:

Post a Comment