PATA Matt 1

Matt Brazier, PATA UK & Ireland, on being 'travel ready'

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) UK & Ireland comments on the current situation in the region and the importance of being ‘travel ready’.

Farming. That's what we keep hearing from our industry partners in Asia. Unfortunately, it’s what many of the wonderful guides, drivers and plethora of hospitality staff who used to work in travel now find themselves doing as a day job because borders remain closed and overly restrictive travel rules in place. 

What is to become of the industry when travel finally does come back? It’s so disheartening when I think of all the talented and skilled individuals the industry is losing as this stretches on. As an organisation we are keeping our ears to the ground as much as possible and we talk to our partners in the region regularly. It’s easy to forget how little support they’ve had in some Asian countries. The travel community is really taking the full brunt of the pandemic and we’ve only just scratched the surface. 

Like you, PATA members are desperate to get the industry moving, to boost local economies, employment and see our clients on trips of a lifetime again. Can we just flip a switch, or, turn it all back on like a tap?

There are new challenges to selling holidays now and we have to ask ourselves, beyond the bureaucracy, “can we actually provide a fantastic holiday to the destination?” This is somewhat subjective but also ultimately down to what hotels, attractions, tours, guides, local cafes & restaurants are still standing after 18 months or more. Will my clients feel welcome? Can we provide our experiences without compromise? Will the accommodation be at a service level that’s acceptable and still giving a sense of the destination? These are all important considerations for agents when booking holidays now which is why operator Experience Travel Group (ETG) has developed a new dedicated ‘Travel Ready’ hub, constantly monitoring the situation and destinations that are ready and open for tourism. Agents selling Asia can benefit from the Travel Ready hub where they’ll find ‘State of Play’ Vodcasts, destination cheat sheets and latest travel information. Agents can also sign up to the ‘Raring to Go. Be the First to Know’ email bulletin series to receive travel ready holidays and offers and advice on where best to plan those bigger trips of a lifetime. It’s important agents can sell holidays with confidence and we want to support the trade with this by doing all the background checks so agents have the latest information, and inspiration, to share with clients. 

Thailand is set to be the first ‘travel ready’ destination on the hub. The Phuket Sandbox program has been a huge success in its first month with over 14,000 arrivals (and just 28 ‘imported’ Covid cases) so other popular resorts such as Krabi and Phi Phi are preparing to start welcoming travellers from 15th August under the same model. 

Travel Ready is just one great example of how PATA members are supporting one another and of course PATA continues to roll out its calendar of virtual training events plus our flagship event ‘Taste of PATA’ is back by demand as an in person get together on September 15. Join us for delicious regional food & drink, improve your product knowledge and expand your contacts. 


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