Search, Connect, Experience – the Future of Tourism

Monday 8, April 2013


Search, Connect, Experience – the Future of Tourism


Under the theme, “Search, Connect, Experience – the Future of Tourism,” the PATA Youth Forum will tap into the insights of industry leaders on how consumers will find, search, and connect to travel in the future. Hosted by the College of Innovation at Thammasat University, the forum will take place Thursday, April 25, at Sri Burapa Auditorium, Thammasat University, Tha Pra Chan Campus, Bangkok.


The Forum will commence one day prior to the 2013 PATA Annual Summit and is aiming to attract hundreds of young professionals and students from overseas and Thailand.


The theme for the forum was developed with guidance from Professor Dr. JS Perry Hobson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at Taylor's University Malaysia, Malaysia. 


Dr. Hobson said: “Some 90%+ of people now search online before making and booking their next trip. Today we ‘Google' our holiday information and share the travel experience on TripAdvisor. Students not only need to understand the current state of play, but also to focus on the next step of this evolution. After all, we need to think about what is going to help tourists to not only search and find out about a destination – but also to connect more fully with the experiences a destination can offer.” 


Dr. Hobson also said: “We now have hotel chains that have managed to create millions of hotel rooms that essentially look and feel the same the world over – no matter whether you are in London, Bangkok, or Sydney. These hotels now sit alongside vast shopping malls that are also home to the same identikit branded shops, accompanied by identical looking Starbucks and McDonalds. The question is, has our obsession with so called ‘brand standards' simply created the ‘same, same’ tourism experience? How can we have the ‘But different?’ After all, isn't the point of traveling to value and experience the unique aspects of a destination? So what is it we can do to make the hotel and destination experience unique, and why are we not focusing on that? What innovations should we be looking at that can create a sense of place, and turn us away from creating tourism experiences that seem to be increasingly sold on price as a ‘no-name' branded commodity.” We will find the answers at the forum. 


The forum has sessions such as “Experience – Making Events Happen,” “Experience - Same, Same - But Different,” “Developing Innovative Experiences,” and “The Future of Tourism: Industry Perspectives from Thailand.” 


Dr. Glenn McCartney, Assistant Professor in Hospitality and Gaming Management, at the University of Macau will speak on the topic “Experience – Making Events Happen.” He said: “Events are increasingly used by destinations and the hospitality industry as core marketing tactics in the hope of standing out from the crowd and breaking through the huge clutter of travel marketing information to enhance image, bring more visitors, widen appeal, getting visitors to spend more, and to stay longer. As well as being widely used, too, by the competition, they are often a costly action. There are winners and losers. At the heart of every outstanding and memorable event is the ‘concept.’”


Glenn will explain the components essential in forming the event “concept.” Only after that can the event be moved forward in the planning, staging, and managing process. 


Other speakers include Prof. Dr. Somkit Lertpaithoon, Rector, Thammasat University; Mr. Martin J. Craigs, PATA CEO; Mr. Ariya Banomyong, Country Manager, Google Thailand; Mr. Siradej Donavanik, Manager - Operations&Profit Improvement, Dusit International, Thailand; Mr. Arrut Navaraj, Managing Director, Sampran Riverside, Thailand; and Mr. Peter Jordan, International Relations Officer, WYSE Travel Confederation, The Netherlands.



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