NUR-SULTAN – For many of the speakers, exhibitors and delegates at the 42nd PATA Travel Mart, the trip to Kazakhstan is their first. The Central Asian’s capital Nur-Sultan’s welcomed the exhibitors, buyers and delegates with outstanding architecture, sunshine and hospitality.
Over 1,200 delegates from 63 destinations around the world flew in to Nur-Sultan, the new capital, for PATA Travel Mart 2019, held Sept 18-20.
“This marks the first time that PATA is organising an event in Central Asia,” said Dr Mario Hardy, CEO PATA. “Unexplored by many, PATA Travel Mart provides the perfect opportunity to showcase this unique destination of vast landscapes and beautiful culture and heritage.”
The first day of Travolution presentations focused on tech in travel and the PATA Youth Symposium, while on the second and third days, two halls of pavilions and stands hosted 347 sellers from 180 organisations and 34 destinations for 252 buyers from 244 organisations and 48 source markets.
The official opening on Wednesday launched with a ribbon-cutting ceremony as PATA celebrated Kazakhstan’s welcome to the organisation, its 99th country member.
Keynote speaker at the Travolution Forum Asia on Wednesday, Peter Foster, CEO Air Astana, has been living in the country for 14 years. “I’ve seen Kazakhstan – and the airline – grow enormously and impressively,” he commented.
In the travel industry for 37 years, he addressed the audience of buyers, sellers and delegates. “We as travel professionals have largely demystified the world but Kazakhstan remains one of the last tourism frontiers. The country is at the beginning of its tourism journey and you have the opportunity to be pioneers in selling this region in your markets.”
Alan Wu of Jebsen Holidays Ltd, tour operator in Hong Kong said, “Travelling over to Kazakhstan has uncovered a new market for everyone. As a new destination no one knows about. In particular I believe the combination of Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan will be very attractive, offering a multi-destination mix of three countries.
“In addition, Kazakhstan offers good value and interesting food options. Hong Kongers love to travel and want to try everything.”