By invitation of the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, a delegation from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), headed by PATA Chief Executive Officer Mr. Martin Craigs and PATA Regional Director East Asia, Ivy Chee, visited Moscow and Saint Petersburg between 14th- 21st March for the first ever official PATA visit to the Russian Federation.
The visit was generously supported by long time PATA member, Lotte Group via its new Moscow hotel and its President & CEO Mr. Yang Seok.
The purpose of the visit was to introduce PATA to Russian public and private travel stakeholders and lay the foundation for future cooperation. The visit followed the Executive Board's decision to expand its traditional boundaries and PATA's long standing ambition to be a catalyst for sustainable two way tourism growth.
PATA CEO Martin Craigs and PATA Regional Director – East Asia, Ivy Chee holding a press briefing at Lotte Hotel Moscow
As highlighted in the Association's new five-year visitor forecasts (2014-2018) arrivals from the Russian Federation into Asia Pacific are expected to grow from 6.1 million in 2013 to 15 million by 2018. According to the Federal Agency for Tourism, Ministry of Culture Russian Federation, total arrivals to the Russian Federation reached 30.8 million in 2013 with an annual growth rate of 9 percent.
During the visit, PATA participated at the 4th International Travel Fair Intourmarket (ITM) 2014 and the 21st Moscow International Travel & Tourism (MITT) Exhibition.
In addition, Mr. Craigs held productive meetings with the Head of Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, Mr. Alexander Rad'kov and Deputy Head, Mr. Grigory Sarishvili. A wide variety of topics were discussed such as visa facilitation, travel tax, human capital development (HCD) and market access enhancement.
At the invitation of the Vice-Rector of the Russian State University of Tourism and Service, Yuri Kopylov, Mr. Craigs and Ms. Chee also held a Youth Forum for over 80 students. As a result of the enthusiastic reception, the university signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for HCD cooperation with PATA.
A highlight of the trip was a St. Patricks Day reception held at Lotte Hotel Moscow. High-level representatives such as Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General UNWTO; Asia Pacific ambassadors to Moscow; senior representatives of international organisations; and officials from the Russian Federation were in attendance.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Craigs said: "It is a pleasure with UNWTO friends in attendance to initiate mutually beneficial business building between 63 years young PATA and the fast expanding visitor economy across the Russian Federation."
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