Thiruvananthapuram: Outdated laws, fear of failure, lack of awareness, cooperation and communication among the public and private stakeholders, and dearth of funding, faced by the Asia/ Pacific region were among the issues that came up for discussion at the 12th UNWTO Asia/Pacific Convention at Kovalam.

The challenges faced by the tourism-technology sector and the methods to overcome these limitations were discussed as part of the training programme. Representatives from around 15 countries in the Asia/ Pacific region took part in the programme on tourism policy and strategy. Pauline Riman, Papua New Guinea, said, “The foremost challenge faced by us when it comes to integration of technology and tourism is the outdated laws.”

Ahmed Abeer Ismail, Maldives, opined that uncertainty and fear of failure are major issue faced by his country in this regard. According to Azman Azra Abdul Rahman, Malaysia, lack of cooperation, communication among the public and private stakeholders were pressing issues.

Gerelsaikhan Tsolman, representative of Mangolia, pointed out that lack of tech-savviness and funding were crippling the sector. Absence of technological infrastructure and security problems in Afghanistan, according Mohammad Rameen Aliqzada were key hurdles.

Prof Yoon Ji Hwan, Kyun Hee University, Seoul, South Korea, made a presentation on Good Practices in Destination Management and Operations through the Application of Transformative Technological Solutions. The tourism plan for Busan City in Korea was also mentioned in the presentation.

Representatives of the Asia/ Pacific countries took part in the discussion on the Busan Plan, where various topics, including the influence of social media, linking of physical and cyber network, online review analysis and the participation of stakeholders in tourism policies were deliberated upon. Peter Semone, President, Destination Human Capital Ltd, was the moderator for the panel discussion.

Hari Nair, Founder, CEO, Holiday IQ, who made a presentation on Tourism & Technology: Challenges & Opportunities, said, “Content plays an important role in attracting tourists to a destination. There is a need to innovate the content provided to the travelers and the latest tourism content DNA comprises marketing, technology and insights. Three of these factors should go hand in hand.”

Mohammad Rameen Aliqzada, Afganisthan; Wang Bin, China; Ramkumar Vijayan, India; Faezeh Behzadnejad, Iran; Cho Sunghak, Korea; Say Phalla, Cambodia; Ahmed Abeer Ismail, Maldives; Pauline Riman, Papua New Guinea; LE Tuan Anh, Vietnam; Masteru Nakamura, Japan, Kjaw Kjaw Lwin, Myanmar; Wahyu Duto Galib Indharto, Indonasia; Azman Azra Abdul Rahman, Malaysia; Gerelsaikhan Tsolman, Mangolia; Suifua Aferei, Samoa and Anton Dilesh, Sri Lanka took part in the Country Presentations and Discussions on Tourism and Technology.

A session on Successful Solutions in the Melding of Tourism and Technology will be organised by Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing APAC, TripAdvisor, on March 21, 2018. The closing session of the programme will be have the participation of Rani George, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, and Harry Hwang, Deputy Director, Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO. Participants of the training programme will be presented with certificates at the closing session. The event will conclude formally on March 22 with a technical tour for participants organised by the Kerala Government.