11 – 14 SEPTEMBER 2018


In-depth report with exclusive photo coverage
By e-Travelers Club travel update
(Founder|EIC Saifuddin Ismailji)
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Supported by the Government of Malaysia; the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia; Tourism Malaysia and the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) – the 41st edition of PATA Travel Mart, the largest in recent years, was held on the beautiful high-end Island destination of Langkawai (Kedah), Malaysia. The PTM engaged over 1400 delegates from 70 destinations worldwide. The delegate numbers comprise 389 exhibitors (sellers) from 208 organizations and 33 destinations (NTOs) with respective local sellers making up 32% of the total, along the 252 buyers from 241 companies and 53 source markets.
In addition, a good number of international media formed the PATA Working Media Team and PATA was also pleased to welcome 210 local and international Young Tourism Professionals to the PATA Youth Symposium (12 September), including PATA Student Member Chapter from a number of Asia-Pacific destinations.

The PTM 2018 served as an insight to the firm commitment of the host destination Langkawi and PATA as the leader Association of the Pacific Asia with a global impact in partnership with PATA Chapter countries around the globe, including Europe, North America, Middle-East and Africa. “For over forty years, the (PATA) event’s continued success has been due to its ability to strike the right balance between quality and quantity when it comes to buyers and sellers”, said Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO PATA.

A multitude of side events on the program included Langkawi Discovery Package tour revealing tourism attractions of Langkawi; the Welcome Dinner Reception showcased the colors of folk culture of Malaysia and a taste of local cuisines – a big Thank You to LADA and Tourism Malaysia for its wonderful hospitality. And in the spirit of PATA playing a role in advocacy of knowledge based information sharing, the PTM 2018 set the stage for the 3rd World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL Start-Up Innovation Camp 2018).

On Day 1 (12 September): The full day Forum (WTFL) with coffee and refreshment break was aimed at finding ground-breaking and innovative approach to the five application categories: Destination, Hospitality, Mobility, Impact and Transaction in travel, tourism and hospitality industry. The winners in the five category of the WTFL Start-Up Innovation Camp 2018 defeated 200 competitors participating from 54 countries with their game changing ideas for a better travel, tourism and hospitality. The winners coming from Namibia, France, Singapore and the Philippines convinced the jury with the five minute elevator pitch during the WTFL Start-Up Innovation Camp 2018, each winning cash prize of Dollars fifteen thousand presented in a ceremony.
A summary of the 5 categories of the WTFL Start-Up Innovation Camp 2018:
1) Destination: rainmaker (Namibia)
VISTA Destination Network Open Platform and Ecosystem democratizes technology and creates competitive advantages for Hospitality and Tourism Businesses, leaving more tourism spend in the Destination.
2) Hospitality: igloohome (Singapore)
Igloohome design smart access solutions for smart management of properties and infra structure.
3) Mobility: Wingly (France)
Wingly is the leading flight sharing platform connecting private pilots with passengers to share their flights, passion and costs (selling at the last minute, an otherwise vacant seat on the plane at a reduced price)
4) Impact: Good for Food (Singapore)
Good for Food’s Smart Dustbin empowers hotels (and restaurants) with data analytics to reduce food waste, cost and environmental footprint.
5) Transaction: Trip Club (Philippines)
Trip Club is a technology-powered concierge currently focused on the high growth blockchain and tech market.
An extremely educative and absorbing Forum, though did not open the floor for a Q&A session, thus questions remained unanswered – like the trust factor in Mobility (Wingly); Food waste relating to consumer had no mention of consumer habit of taking food on the plate, not eating it and leaving it on the table to be thrown away. Only a few hotels have taken up measures imposing heavy fines to harness such reckless and unthoughtful consumer behavior to senseless food waste.

WTFL President & CEO Martin Barth is convinced that “new and disruptive business models are essential for the development of our industry. The yearly WTFL Start-up Innovation Camps are platforms that play a vital role in finding these models and giving them a chance to present their ideas in front of the international investors, industry executives and media in order to increase their exposure and build their networks in the industry.” Innovation, exchange of ideas between different generations, diversity and the concern for the sustainable development in our industry are the core pillars of World Tourism Forum Lucerne’s identity. “In the next half year we will make even a step further – we will launch an online deal-flow tool in order for start-ups and investors to find each other, which will complete our activities around innovation and entrepreneurship,” concludes Martin Barth.
On site the travel mart, the booth setup in progress with larger space taken up by Tourism Malaysia, LADA, Penang, Nepal and India.

At the end of the Forum, delegates are being transferred to their respective hotels to gear up for the Welcome Reception at the Langkawi International Convention Center.
Outside the reception hall, drinks are being served and local volunteers attired in traditional costumes display the colors of Malaysia including the native Langkawi folk – some serving local fruits and drinks, others display the iconic Malaysian kites and having the guests to interact with local wildlife including the python. The doors open at 1930 for the Opening Ceremony Welcome dinner Reception – a gala festive night in the presence of high level Government officials and senior PATA officers, including Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO PATA; Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani bin Daud, Deputy Director General (Promotion) Tourism Malaysia; Hon. Shri Satpal Maharaj ji, Tourism Minister Gov. of Uttarakhand, India; Datuk Rashidi bin Hasbullah, Secretary General, Ministry to Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia; Dr. Chris Bottrill, Chairman PATA; Hon. Dato Mukhriz bin Mahathir, Chief Minister of Kedah, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Deputy Prime Minister; Hon. Mohamaddin Bin Haji Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Muhammad Bakhtiar bin Wan Chik, Dep. Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia; Thiru V. Natarajan, Tourism Minister, Gov. of Tamil Nadu; Teo Ah Khing, Chairman Desert Star Holding Singapore; Dato’ Ir. Haji Amiruddin Hamzah, Deputy Minister of Finance Malaysia; Dato’ Haji Azizan bin Noordin, CEO (LADA); Datuk Ahmad Shah Hussein Tambakau, Chairman, Tourism Malaysia.
Welcoming addresses were delivered by the dignitaries to formally welcome delegates to the PATA Travel Mart 2018. Colorful staged performances of traditional dances and folk tales won the hearts of the delegates, while dinner being served on the table. An attractive memorabilia package was presented to each delegate on the table.

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On Day 2 (13 September): The PTM officially opens the door with ribbon cutting ceremony by the host (LADA) and PATA CEO, in the presence of dignitary and delegates, followed by a tour onsite the mart at Mahsuri International Convention Center. At the Tourism Malaysia Pavilion, next to LADA booth, a demonstration of teh tarik – meaning pull tea, attracted the crowd to witness the making and sample the original Malaysian tea.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Nepal PATA Chapter and Nepal Airline (NAC) joined hand to put up an impressively decorated pavilion designed in traditional pagoda style and hosted coffee and refreshment on the premises through the two-day PTM.
According to NTB CEO Deepak Raj Joshi: “PTM is one of the prominent platforms to promote and showcase Nepal’s diverse tourism offerings. We are very happy to receive the increasing interest for destination Nepal by the world tourism communities, and our collaborative efforts and engagement with the private sector is also very strong and effective for the promotion of tourism”. Mr. Joshi also chaired the PATA NTO Committee Meeting for an insightful presentation on how destinations can make use of digital technology based on information for this year’s World Tourism day theme: “Tourism and Digital Transformation”.
PATA had its presence at its own booth. Pacific island destinations (including Guam), India, secured much space at the mart site. Local hotels (including Camar Resort in the Langkasuri group of Hotels ; Lexis Suites ) and regional Tourism Offices including (Penang Tourism ) set up their pavilion.


The official Media Briefing announced the Visit Malaysia Year 2020, setting a target to “welcome a total of 36 million tourists and register RM168 billion in tourist receipts”.
The session was chaired by the senior officials of Malaysia Tourism, LADA and PATA, including the host Dato Azizan Noordin, Chief Executive Officer of the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA ); Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO PATA; YB tuan Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (
At the Q&A session, the answer to my question to Honorable host Dato Azizan about the lack of economy public transport on the Island to cater for budget traveler had the audience to conclude that Langkawi is fully geared up high-end destination with lifestyle resorts, pre-history dating back 500 years BC, folk legend, theme parks, nature trails, cable car lift up the hill, sea sports and diving to nearby island and helicopter air safari (by Bin Ali Holidays +6019-922-1927 ).
The small island population has each household own a car or some means of transport therefore only taxis are available for tourists to explore the Island. A 10 minute drive in a taxi from hotel to airport could cost about US$ 15. “Grab-taxi’ is cheaper, about half the price of a normal taxi. Introduction of an economy tourist-friendly hop on, hop off bus around the Island could be a welcome sight for tourists!
The Island, under the visionary CEO of LADA, sees innovative development to satisfy a tourist need. With the international visitor arrival to Asia Pacific likely to sustain growth, reaching 800 million arrivals by 2022, to compete with other island destinations in neighboring countries, Langkawi has all the tourism product essential to lead with an ambition of a cost-effective value for money tourist haven. My follow up question relate to Langkawi tourism development strategy to encourage international hotel brand invest on the island. The CEO of LADA explains lucrative initiative offering a 30, 60 and 90 years lease of land to attract more 5-star hotels on the Island. Langkawi has all the right features for an integrated resort, currently operated by Resort World Genting (Malaysia), Resort World Manila, Vinpearl Vietnam and a few more.
Ninety percent of macro-economic activity on the Island is driven by tourism. “We see exciting prospects ahead for Langkawi leisure industry”, said Dato Azizan.
Working strategy is underway to meet challenges of flight connectivity, offering airlines discounted landing rates.
The new website raising Langkawi’s profile is also announced at the conclusion of the briefing:


Dato Haji Azizan bin Noordin has been a driving force to the development of Malaysia tourism. A travel and tourism expert – visionary of alternative marketing strategy with a transformative mindset, he has been a key speaker at many high profile tourism conferences, then representing 44 Tourism Malaysia overseas offices.
Dato Azizan is the recipient of PATA’s Life Membership Award, the Association’s highest individual honor for his active role-play in significant leadership and of his praiseworthy dedication.

Sarawak Tourism hosted delegate lunch with a colorful presentation of tribal dance and music. On the table the City of Kuching (cat city) presented an iconic souvenir of the famed Sarawak pepper in the cat-shaped container.
At the end of a resourceful working day, the social network evening at the Paradise 101 Island (a manmade island by Naam ) highlighted the sea sport and entertainment feature of Langkawi. Local and regional cuisine stalls scattered around the festive site, complemented with live western music on stage. The brilliant fireworks, which has lasted about 10 minutes. bring to the closure an entertaining evening hosted by NAAM and LADA.

Day 3 (14 September) While PTM site is also visited by trade visitors, educative seminars and press briefing by Desaru Coast, Malaysia Airports are being held at the venue. In a ceremonial seminar, Twincities World Tourism Association is founded with its newly elected president: Thomas-Peter Binder. The key objective of the Association is to initiate “Building bridges through dialogue”, developing relationship and friendship through dialogue.


Post PTM, Langkawi, 15 September: PATA Board Dinner and Chapter Awards Presentation. Hosted by Tourism Malaysia.
PATA) honored the accomplishments of three PATA Chapters and one Student Chapter in Langkawi, Malaysia on Saturday, September 15 during
PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “The PATA Chapter and Student Chapters, through their grassroots activism and activities, play an integral part in fulfilling the objectives of the Association. These awards highlight their voluntary efforts in supporting the Association’s values in working towards the responsible development of the travel and tourism industry.”
PATA Executive Board and Board Meetings in Langkawi, Malaysia, Chapters were present from many destinations including Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, Finland, Guam, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, San Jose, Sri Lanka, Thailand, San Jose, Singapore, Thailand, and UK & Ireland. PATA was also pleased to welcome 44 young tourism professionals including PATA Student Chapter members from Bangladesh Dhaka University, Capilano University, Taylor’s University in Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines LPU-Manila, and Singapore Temasek Polytechnic.
For details, contact

According to the honorable host Dato Azizan: “PTM emerged as the most memorable tourism exhibition (on the Island), ever”.
Co-sponsors/ partners of PTM 2018 included: the Official Carrier, Malaysia Airports (Airport Partner), TTG (Official Publication), iFREE Group (Delegate Badge Sponsor), Desaru Coast Malaysia (Delegate Lanyard Sponsor), Attendify (Mobile App Sponsor), Berjaya Resort (Official Caterer), Sarawak Tourism Board (Lunch), LADA & Paradise 101 (Dinner), Macao Government Tourism Office (Gold Awards Lunch), Kraftangan Malaysia (Delegate Bag & Welcome Reception Door), Mastercard (Digital Hub), Nepal Tourism Board (Buyer Lounge), LADA Eco-Tourism (AV Support), SOJERN / uCloudlink / LADA / World Tourism Forum Lucerne (PTM Talks Sponsors), Travel Weekly Group / World Tourism Forum Lucerne (PTM Forum Partners).



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