PATWA actively promotes inclusive and sustainable path for the travel industry
Founded in 1998, PATWA (Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association) has been present for almost a quarter of a century at ITB Berlin
Secretary General Yatan Ahluwalia tells us more about the association’s role and contribution to the tourism and travel industry.
What does the PATWA represent?
The Pacific Asia Travel Writer Association is an organisation of travel writers which was created back in 1998. Our founding philosophy is to develop and encourage travel writing, promoting the sustainable development of the world travel industry. That also includes the hospitality industry as well as aviation. We want to encourage the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, but also the appreciation and understanding of people – their culture, habits, customs and history.
One of your most significant contributions to ITB Berlin is the PATWA International Travel Awards. What is it all about?
We have been present at ITB Berlin since 1999 when the PATWA International Travel Awards were also instituted. We have the award annually. It is actually a very long process to pick up the winners. We look at activities based on sustainability with destinations focusing on culture or traditions. This sustainable mission applies also to tour operators, travel agencies, hotels and transportation. We want to make sure that sustainability is the core of all businesses linked to travel.
Why are the PATWA Awards so coveted?
I believe it hangs a lot on the stringent selection process. We spend four months checking and selecting nominees. We share the list with our 5,000 media members worldwide. We receive feedback and we then have a shortlist of names. A secret jury comprising PATWA members, officials and mystery travellers judge the shortlisted names that meet the necessary criteria. The jury of the selection is indeed a very stringent jury as nominees are evaluated on various pre-set standards with an extensive audit, as necessary. The winners are decided at the PATWA international council meeting held annually.
You also organise a PATWA World Tourism Leader’s Summit at ITB Berlin. Could you tell us more?
The PATWA Leader’s Summit at ITB Berlin is another way to get involved at the trade show and make an impact. We gather tourism ministers and leaders as well as hotel and airline CEOs. We give them a subject to speak on which is generally a short speech with powerful facts and content. We normally get four to five speakers to discuss further over essential subjects of our travel industry.
Sustainability was a hot topic at ITB Berlin this year. How did PATWA work to promote the most possible sustainable future for the travel industry?
It is our essence to promote a sustainable path to businesses. We just continue to highlight it and promote tourism entities which are looking at enhancing local cultures and giving back to their community.
PATWA sets the criteria of tourism’s world institutions
PATWA adheres to the fundamental principles of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations (UN) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The association is of course closely linked to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
PATWA is an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). This adds to the further credentials of this unique Asia-based travel writers’ association and its strong will in the support of tourism. PATWA’s members promote tourism with three guiding principles – objectivity, realism and the accuracy – to inform, orientate and educate the reader or viewer.
PHOTO: © Yatan Ahluwalia from Facebook page