Run in partnership with the ASEAN-China Centre and with the support and endorsement of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the forum operated under the theme of “Sustainable Innovation, Sustainable Travel, and Sustainable Business.” The forum introduced a number of practical applications and concepts to the audience.
These included from the “7 Greens” program on the island of Samui in Thailand, new tourist farming practices on Chongming Island in the Yangtze River Delta, best practices in responsible tourism in ASEAN, and CSR activities in Greater China. The question of what can China learn from the world and what can the world learn from China was vigorously debated. It led to some critical observations. One of which was the recognition that “authenticity” means something very different to the Chinese domestic traveller compared to that of the foreign visitor. Marketing therefore needs careful consideration if it is to be successful.
At the forum, the next generation of tourism professionals from universities across China, had their chance to say something about responsible tourism. They submitted ideas and opinions to forum attendees in the form of video clips and short presentations as part of the PATA China Young Tourism Professional Challenge. Sun Yat-sen University won both the Champions’ and Audience’s choice votes.
Ms Kate Change, PATA Director for Greater China, said: “It is heartening to see so many students accept our challenge and deliver such high quality presentations to the judges. Despite an extremely tight deadline and a very tough brief, we received 46 applications from universities across China. It shows that interest in responsible and sustainable tourism runs high in our youth.”
Mr Ma Mingqiang, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre, added: “It is reassuring to see that not only can we learn from responsible tourism practices in the rest of the world, especially the ASEAN Member States, but that China can also add its own voice to the debate through innovative and practical applications currently underway across the country.”
Another highlight of the forum was the China Responsible Tourism Awards, which PATA introduced this year. The final nominations were announced during the forum. The winners will be announced in early 2013. PATA members and industry practitioners are encouraged to cast their votes on www.Tripshow.com from December 1, 2012 to showcase the best practices in responsible tourism from all over China.
The forum concluded with the launch of PATA Nankai University Student Chapter introduced by Professor Bai Changhong, Dean of School of Tourism and Service Management, Nankai University, and a presentation by the newly elected Chairman of the Chapter Mr Zang Ye. Mr Stephen Hsu, Vice Chairman of China Tourist Hotels Association and Mr John Koldowski, Special Advisor to PATA CEO, attended the forum and delivered speeches.