PATA Just Elected a New CEO

Top industry leaders set to speak at Virtual PATA Annual Summit 2021


After the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the resignation of Liz Ortiguera as its Chief Executive Officer in February, the influential travel and tourism organization after Mario Hardy resigned. She was CEO for ten months and left with an undisclosed legal arrangement.

It was unclear why the PATA CEO quit at a critical time for this organization. PATA never responded to questions.

Rumors spread Liz Ortuguera is eying a leading position with WTTC, the World Travel and Tourism Council, and has been seen with WTTC President and CEO Julian Simpson.

Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for-profit membership-based association that catalyzes the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the Asia Pacific region.

In April, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO).

The two organizations agreed to promote and strengthen shared interests between the two organizations in the areas of market access, innovative events, membership, and communications, among others.

At that time, PATA Chair Peter Semone expressed his delight about this partnership between the two organizations. He highlighted that PATA is thrilled to partner with SPTO in implementing these exciting development opportunities to encourage advocacy marketing and communication, insightful market research, and innovative events for its member organizations.

Rumors started then that the next CEO for PATA may come from the South Pacific Tourism Organization or a person close to SPTO.

Some tourism insiders warned that SPTO was “too close” to Chinese geopolitical interests.

On April 11 eTurboNews predicted Jens Thraenhart, former head of Mekong Tourism, who worked from Bangkok, was predicted to be the next PATA CEO. Jens is the current CEO of Barbados Tourism.

Using his private vacation, he traveled to Bangkok twice recently and attended the PATA Adventure Summit in Nepal earlier this month.

Today Mr. Thraenhart was informed by PATA Chairman Mr. Semone he was seriously considered for the PATA CEO position, but another highly qualified candidate was elected.

Deepak Joshi, former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, and Christopher Cocker, current CEO of SPTO, may have been some of the highly qualified candidates.

Considering PATA Chair recently signed an important alliance with SPTO, the odds the person elected may be from the South Pacific region are becoming more and more likely.

Today’s decision will be made official soon.

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