PATA Youth Symposium Explores the Role of Youth in the Future of Tourism

15 September 2016

9c5a453b-7c30-4f44-9c98-0be223e1d42dThe PATA Youth Symposium held on Thursday, September 8, 2016 in BSD-Serpong, Indonesia welcomed 193 students, alumni, lecturers and industry professionals from President University and other academic institutions in Indonesia to discuss the role of youth in the future of tourism.

The event, hosted generously by President University with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia and the PATA Indonesia Chapter, commenced on the first day of PATA Travel Mart 2016 under the theme ‘Young Entrepreneurs’ Role in Tourism’s Future’.

The programme commenced with an address by Dr. Mario Hardy, PATA CEO. He said, “Today’s youth are critical in addressing problems of the future. That solution starts today and we invite all students in attendance to share their views and opinions.”

He also noted that the Association would have a primary focus on youth in 2017 and will begin to organise activities centred upon education, entrepreneurship and other skills.

“President University was founded 15 year ago to prepare students to be self-employed in case there were not enough jobs in the future. With classes taught in English the university also supported students to do internships and create student networks,” said Mr. S.D. Darmono, Founder of President University. “Trust, friendship and communications skills are important factors in creating networks and platforms to do business as young entrepreneurs.”

Dr. Jony Oktavian Haryanto, Rector of President University added, “Tourism plays an important role in other industries such as food, agriculture and handicraft. The University curriculum support students to be young entrepreneurs in real life. We would like to thank PATA for this tremendous opportunity."

The programme was developed with guidance from Dr. Chris Bottrill, Chairman of the PATA Human Capital Development (HCD) Committee and Dean, Faculty of Global and Community Studies at Capilano University.

The programme was moderated by Stewart Moore, Chairman of the PATA Sustainability Committee and CEO at EarthCheck, Australia. He said, “The PATA Symposium promised to give us some insights into the entrepreneurs of the future and it delivered the goods. The students from President University stepped up to the mark and knocked us out with their passion and enthusiasm to not only embrace but also to set a new direction for the tourism industry. The PATA Youth Symposium once again reminded us of the importance of showcasing emerging leadership and talent.”

Mrs. Ha Lam, Co-founder and COO at, Vietnam presented the opening plenary talk on ‘How young entrepreneurs are changing digital technologies in tourism’. She said, “After 12 months of its operation, grew from 10 countries in Asia into 98 countries, 655 cities and over 20,000 local experts around the globe. We have received thousands of letters and emails from travellers thanking us for connecting them to new friendships."

"The way people travel or experience travel will still be the same. No matter how fancy technology can be: travellers still fly, stay and enjoy local experiences. However, young entrepreneurs around the world are using technology to change the way people operate a tour company”, she added.

Mrs. Rika Jean-François, Commissioner ITB Corporate Social Responsibility, Germany, delivered the second plenary talk on ’Social and business entrepreneurship in tourism. What’s the difference? Why does it matter?'. After giving an overview on the general definitions of entrepreneurship, she introduced the model of social entrepreneurship and presented best practice examples. She underlined the necessity for young entrepreneurs to not neglect their responsibility towards society and to embed social thinking into their future businesses.

Dr. Joe Kelly, Capilano University, Project Change Foundation, Canada, presented the third plenary talk on ‘How Young Entrepreneurs may change the world’. He said that the factors that the young generation needed to find out in order to change the world included ‘staying true to their values’, ‘nurturing their passions’, and discovering ‘how best to put their skills to work’.

All participants shared their views in round-table discussions on the following topics.

Key responses from students to the question: “What unique skills and talents do young entrepreneurs bring to tourism’s future?

  • A wider knowledge of technology, language and business skills
  • Marketing and communication in the age of digital technology and networking through social media
  • Innovation and creativity through new ideas, storytelling and identifying new concepts that make experiences unique
  • Delivered with passion, enthusiasm, energy and business execution
Key responses to the challenge ‘Identify two great ideas in tourism that only young entrepreneurs can do’.
  • New technology: Apps, websites, virtual reality experiences
  • Making old things new again - reality TV shows, traditional music and culture
  • Making work fun
Prof. Dr. Ajay Chauhan, Dean of Faculty of Business at President University, told the symposium attendees that while all of the above ideas were important, the key issue was the ability to always deliver excellent service to their clients.

The participants enjoyed fascinating cultural performances as part of the programme.

The PATA Human Capital Development Committee has organised successful educational events at various institutions including UCSI University Sarawak Campus (April 2010), Institute for Tourism Studies (September 2010), Beijing International Studies University (April 2011), Taylor's University, Kuala Lumpur (April 2012), Lyceum of the Philippines University, Manila (September 2012), Thammasat University, Bangkok (April 2013), Chengdu Polytechnic, Huayuan Campus, China (September 2013), Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai Campus, China, (May 2014), Royal University of Phnom Penh (September 2014) and Sichuan Tourism School, Chengdu, (April 2015), Christ University, Bangalore (September 2015) and the University of Guam, USA (May 2016).