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4 Oct, 2012

Flashback: PATA’s Landmark Total Tourism Survey 2005 (Free Download)


In August 2005, PATA published a comprehensive survey of its members designed to monitor their concerns over the then rising gale storms of change, and help them navigate through it. After a brief flurry of publicity, the survey disappeared from PATA’s radar screen.

Today, as the 61-year-old association ponders its future and ability to cope with the next looming crisis, it may be useful to exhume that report, which was appropriately titled “Total Tourism Survey – The Future Of Tourism In An Insecure, Unstable World.”

Designed to back PATA’s primary claim to be the “voice” of the industry by tapping into the “voice” of its many members, both big and small, the survey’s recommendations are perhaps more valid now than ever.

Arguably the first time such a survey was conducted by a travel & tourism industry grouping, it covered a number of ‘outside-the-box’ topics, such as: Geopolitical Issues; Health Issues; Environmental Issues; Demographics; Society & Culture; Media; Distribution; Aviation; Domestic & Regional Travel; Human Resources; and the Emerging Giants.

The nearly 100 respondents ranged from CEOs and students to academics, airline professionals, hoteliers and tour operators. Their strong views, opinions and ideas reflected both hope and frustration over the state of the industry as well as satisfaction and admiration with some of the PATA activities under way at the time.

Conceptualised and initiated by Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil who was then the researcher/writer of Issues & Trends, the flagship publication of PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre, the survey was conducted by the then SIC Director, John Koldowski, who designed the comprehensive and wide-ranging questionnaire to fit the concept of “Total Tourism” announced in 2004 by the then President and CEO Peter de Jong.

The survey underscored the fact that “the real strength of PATA lies in its membership, a great repository of ideas, initiatives and early warning indicators.” It allowed members to express views which they may be reluctant to express in formal meetings or via direct communications.

As the introduction noted, “An association which listens to and reflects the ‘voice’ of the membership can claim to be both truly democratic and transparent. It can also be a more confident association by knowing how members feel and then delivering on the services they seek.

“Members pay dues so that industry associations can bring to bear their collective strength and ‘voice’ on issues that individuals cannot or dare not express. They want associations to truly represent the interests of the industry and go to bat for it, without necessarily taking sides.”

PATA members clearly stated that keeping them in business in an insecure, unstable world was more important than building the business.

History will judge the consequences of PATA failing to heed its own members’ voice. Another global crisis looms, such as the threatened Israeli attack on Iran. Both time and money are running out and the gale-storms of change are increasing in velocity.

Hence, Travel Impact Newswire is resurrecting the Total Tourism Survey, as drafted at the time. The final version, with proper graphics and design, ought to be in the archives at the PATA head-office.

An important part of the history of Asia-Pacific travel & tourism, the survey can still contribute to keeping travel & tourism companies in business.

Click here to download: Total Tourism Survey – The Future Of Tourism In An Insecure, Unstable World