Palauan delegates at PATA 2019 (Photo courtesy of Palau Visitors Authority)

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) annual summit was held on the May 9 to 12 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu, Philippines.

The four-day conference focused on the state of the world economy, the current and future state of tourism in Asia & the Pacific and practical solutions to achieving sustainable tourism.

Palau’s delegation was led by minister Umiich Sengebau and Palau Visitors Authority Chairman, Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl along with board member Marie Anderson and PVA staff.

Norma Etibek, Bureau of Tourism Director Kevin Mesebeluu, Fabian Iyar and Palau Sports Fishing members Ashley Omelau and Jay Okada were also present.

Speakers discussed topics vital to Palau’s current efforts to drive sustainable and responsible tourism for all.

Nathan Blecharzyk, co-founder of the 30 billion dollar Airbnb, announced future trends of the online home booking platform, and how it will be working with governments to ensure benefits reach outlying communities.

Filipino officials spoke about disabled, hearing impaired, and travelers with visual impairments; a growing but neglected market.

One great example is the Alii-Pass program, and other popular tourist sites, which can benefit from accessibility modifications, at low cost, to ensure Palau recognizes and enables its own peoples with disabilities first and generates buzz for our visitors with accessibility needs.

During this award the Palau team was given the opportunity to receive the world’s best Green Certification “Engine”, from Slovenia, which will allow Palau to certify all businesses based on Palau’s environmental policies, adherence to best practices, and compliance with regulations.

This will allow PVA and other stakeholders to show over time, how efforts like the Alii Pass, Palau Pledge, Palau Sports Fishing and Boaters Association are changing the behavior of our visitors.

This engine from Slovenia will be received by a specialized team from Palau leaving this May to learn the system, add Palau’s own indicators and policies, and bring back to finalize and implement. (PR)