AssociationSuharno, who is also chair of ASTINDO, wants travel agent associations to pull together and push for revival.

Pauline Suharno is new president of FATA

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Encouraging product innovation and collaboration among travel agent members are among the key missions for newly elected FATA president Pauline Suharno.
Encouraging product innovation and collaboration among travel agent members are among the key missions for newly elected FATA president Pauline Suharno.

A familiar name among the Southeast Asia travel agent community, ASTINDO (Indonesian Travel Agents Association) head Pauline Suharno has been unanimously voted by Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA) members to become the new president of FATA from 2022 to 2024. 

Suharno succeeds outgoing FATA president K.L. Tan, who is also the president of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents. Chhay Sivlin, president of Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, is FATA's new deputy president and Michelle Taylan, president of Philippines Travel Agencies Association, has been elected secretary general.

As she looks to her new two-year presidency at FATA, which consists of Associations of Travel Agents from ASEAN member countries, Suharno hopes to bring the alliance closer together and advance the cause of the travel agent community.

The past two years have severely tested the travel industry, therefore helping travel agents digitalise and adapt is one of the key aims for FATA under her leadership, Suharno tells Travel Weekly Asia.

"Most brick-and-mortar travel agents are SMEs, so we hope FATA can assist them to improve on product innovation and technology adoption, expand their foreign offerings and engage overseas consumers," she says.

While acknowledging that FATA has a challenging task at hand, Suharno sees a key mission in fostering the team spirit among members and align the vision and missions geared toward reviving domestic and international travel.

"We have to be consistent in order to pump up members’ spirit and assist them to reactivate the business. ASEAN travel agents as a close community should hand in hand work closely, not just on paper or in theory only."

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