PATA Nepal Chapter in collaboration with NTB, Nepal Airlines, and 11 different travel trade companies made a strong presence at the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2018. The conference and mart was held from February 21st to 23rd, 2018 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 180 delegates from 33 countries in attendance for the three-day niche event. The event brought together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry from the private and public sectors for a meaningful discussion on the issues and opportunities in travel and tourism.
Collectively, 11 private travel trade companies from Nepal participated in the mart, including Langtang Ri Trekking and Expedition, Highground Adventures Nepal, Royal Mountain Travel, Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure, Himalayan Holidays Trekking, Adventure Outdoor Treks and Expedition, Nepal Sanctuary Treks, Himalayan KailashTravels & Tours, Shivalaya Tours, KGH Group of Hotels and Resorts, and Soaltee Crowne Plaza.
The event was opened by H.E. Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director – Tourism Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi. The UAE celebrates the Year of Zayed, marking 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the Founding Father of UAE. The event, hosted by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, brought together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry from both the private and public sectors to discuss the issues and opportunities in travel and tourism.
PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy emphatically expressed his enthusiasm, “The event aims to be a catalyst for generating new ideas and improving collaboration between public and private sector organizations. Throughout the Asia Pacific region, the Association understands the need for all stakeholders to work together in planning, building and promoting the uniqueness and diversity of each country’s offering.”
The delegates were briefed by a diverse line-up of international speakers at the one-day conference under the theme ‘Adventure in a New Era’. The 15 pioneers, thought leaders and change-drivers who shape the emerging landscape of the adventure travel industry, examined various conference topics that covered ‘2018 Adventure Travel Trends – Looking Ahead to 2021′, ‘Partnerships for a New Era’, ‘New Operators for a New Era’, ‘The Middle Eastern Adventure Traveller’, ‘Micro Moments: The secret to always winning in an era of Facebook and Instagram’, ‘Stimulating Innovation in a New Era’, ‘Local Hood: The end of tourism’, and ‘Over Tourism: Loving Destinations to Death’.
PATA Nepal CEO, Mr. Suresh Singh Budal actively engaged with participants at the ATRTCM 2018 and aptly capitalized upon the unique learning platform geared towards the different dynamics and emerging trends of adventure travel as well as business promotion. “Nepal has so much to offer to quench the thirst of all types of adventure seekers and this fastest-growing segment of travel is something that can really affirm the untapped potential of Nepalese Tourism. Nepal has to be well marketed as an ultimate adventure destination intensifying the optimum potentials arises from a true blend of nature, culture, and adventure; and incorporating the latest trends in digital marketing,” Mr. Budal remarked.
The fair provided an ideal platform to showcase Nepal as an exotic adventure destination with its umpteen options for activities in this segment. It was also a good opportunity for the Nepali team to analyze the Arabian market. With five airlines flying more than 70 flights per week in this sector, the market carries huge potential in terms of high-end clientele. Even though the market has yet to be explored well, Nepal is well known as an adventure destination in the Middle East countries. Previous exemplary individuals who have sought Nepal as an adventure destination includes Prince Bandar bin Khalid bin Fahd – who successfully climbed the world’s highest mountain Mt. Everest of Nepal on May 19, 2012, and reportedly became the first Saudi Arabian to climb seven summits and the highest peaks in all seven continents. As per official data, 5,000 to 6,000 Arabian tourists visit Nepal, every year. With little investment in market research and branding, Nepal with its wealth of adventure and natural beauty could inspire the Arabian travelers to explore other regions like Langtang, Annapurna, Kathmandu valley and Mustang and further north, and to Pokhara and Chitwan for nature and leisure activities.