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Saturday, 07 December, 2019, 14 : 24 PM [IST]

Tourism industry should learn to manage expectations, capacity and growth to ward off effects of over-tourism: Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA

PATA to work with five hotel groups for its Travel Lab Asia Corporate Innovation programme
Speaking at the second Tourism Powerhouse, an annual brainstorming seminar by PATA India chapter, in Delhi today, Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA said that it is high time tourism industry in the world learn to manage expectation, capacity and growth to ward off the ill-effects of Over-tourism.  

He said that the businesses have to pay heed to the changes in the consumer behaviour that is highly sensitive to the environment. Young people in Northern Europe have started avoiding long haul travel as a step to reduce carbon emissions. Although this is not a solution to the problem, the businesses, industry and the destinations have to pay attention to that and evolve strategies to reassure them on the various measures taken to improve sustainability, Hardy said. 

PATA as an industry association has joined hands with ADB Ventures to pilot Corporate Innovation programme called Travel Lab Asia on Clean technology. Announced in September this year, Hardy said that they will work with five hotel groups on Clean technology pilots. He said that around 15,000 companies across the globe which work on Clean technology will be challenged to devise solutions to reduce Water consumption, Energy consumption, Food Wastage, etc. and the results will be measured. The ADB will fund those selected solutions to implement it in properties across the group, he added. Although PATA has worked on different projects with ADB in the past, Hardy said that this is the “first project for measurable tangible solutions.” 

Considering Asia is the biggest growth region for global tourism, Hardy said that the governments and the industry stakeholders have to work together to mitigate the sustainability challenges. “We cannot fix all the challenges, but we can fix some of them by working together,” Hardy stated. 

Hardy also made strong pitch for a Visa-less world. He said that the objectives of Visa primarily are Security and Revenue, and both those objectives can be met without it as well in the current circumstances. “A free and frank discussion need to happen in this context,’ he said. And, if governments still need to continue with it, they can make it simple for people. Hardy cited the examples of Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc. which reaped tourism benefits by making Visa process simple. 

Speaking on the occasion, Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary Tourism, Government of India, and Chairman of PATA India said that India has created a good base for tourism to prosper and the government initiatives in the last couple of years like e-Visa simplification, GST reduction, opening of an additional 130 peaks, etc. have helped in removing “major road blocks” before the industry. There were discussions various issues pertaining to tourism at the day long conference.
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