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The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has gathered a diverse line-up of international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry to explore the nuances, trends and dynamics of one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors at the upcoming PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2020 (ATCM 2020) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in Malaysia. The event, hosted by Tourism Malaysia and supported by Sabah Tourism and Malaysia Airlines, will be held at the Sutera Harbour Resort from 12-14 February with the theme ‘Ahead of the Curve: Authenticity and Sustainability in Adventure.’

The event attracted 347 delegates from 33 destinations in attendance for the three-day niche event with international delegates comprising 40% of the total. Encompassing a one-day-travel mart and one-day conference, the B2B trade mart on Friday, February 14 will welcome 51 seller organisations from 9 destinations and 45 buyer organisations from 21 source markets.

On Thursday, February 13, delegates will hear from a diverse line-up of speakers. The innovators and pioneers, who are shaping the emerging landscape of the adventure travel industry will examine various conference topics that cover ‘State of adventure Tourism,” ‘Who Are Our Adventure Tourists?’, ‘Creating Meaningful Adventure’, ‘Sustainable (Elephant Experiences)’, ‘How to Use Responsible Travel Initiatives to Attract Adventure Tourists’, and ‘Starting Small; How to Integrate Adventure Elements into Your Tour’.

Featuring two concurrent hands-on workshops on Sustainability, led by Natasha Martin, Adventure Tourism Expert, Raj Gyawali, Founder, Socialtours, and Jessica Yew, Co-Founder & Director, Sticky Rice Travel and Authenticity which will be led by Dan Moore, CEO of Pandion Consulting & Facilitation.

The conference was opened by YB Datuk Mohamaddin Bin Ketapi, Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia. “We are very pleased to be given the honour to host PATA this year, whose theme ‘Authenticity and Sustainability in Adventure’ are in line with our aspirations to highlight Malaysia’s outdoor and adventure attractions to cater to the growing adventure tourism market while adhering to responsible travel initiatives,” commented the Minister.

Other confirmed speakers include Graham Harper, Director – Sustainability & Social Responsibility, PATA; Irshad Mubarak, Owner, Junglewalla Tours Pakkanut Bansiddhi, DVM, MSc, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Companion Animals and Wildlife Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai
University and Theerapat Trungprakan, President, Thai Elephant Alliance Association.

PATA CEO Dr Mario Hardy thanked all the delegates for joining in Malaysia to discuss, and share their various ideas in planning, building and promoting a responsible travel industry, particularly during the current coronavirus crises. He also thanked the hosts for having taken extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of all delegates during their stay in Sabah.

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