Bangkok, Thailand, October 31, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is delighted to announce the successful completion of the finance and digital skills workshops for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in tourism, which took place in Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines. These workshops were part of PATA’s collaboration with Visa to build the capacity of tourism businesses in Southeast Asia towards efficient financial management and increased digital literacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has urged tourism businesses and destinations across the world to build greater resilience and become more innovative and adaptive. To do so, the tourism industry must strive to be robust enough to withstand crises and unexpected events, but also flexible enough to quickly adapt to new circumstances. For SMEs, this includes, for example, learning how to identify and manage risks, effectively manage finances, increase sustainable practices to save costs and stay competitive, and make use of digital tools and platforms to better reach customers and manage operations.
With this in mind, PATA developed an online learning course covering these topics specifically tailored to tourism SMEs. Although they comprise approximately 80% of all tourism businesses, SMEs are often vulnerable – especially in times of crisis – due to lack of capacity, time and resources. The Finance and Digital Skills course was therefore created to assist SMEs in their resilience-building process and increase their capacity to better navigate the post-COVID-19 tourism era.
The course was developed with the support and expertise of Visa and the Practical Business Skills initiative, and it is available for free in six languages on PATA’s Sustainability Resource Centre website.
To take this knowledge further, PATA and Visa implemented in-person workshops in Hanoi, Jakarta, Siem Reap and the Laguna Province with the invaluable support of the Viet Nam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT), the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, and the Philippine Department of Tourism, respectively. These took place from July to September 2023.
Each workshop consisted of two days, the first focussing on Finance Skills and the second on Digital Skills. The first encompasses topics such as financial management (statements, formulas, financing opportunities, etc.), risk management and financial benefits of sustainability, whereas the digital skills workshop covers business digitalisation, digital marketing and online payments, and cybersecurity.
The last set of workshops happened from September 11-12 in Santa Cruz, Laguna Province, in the Philippines. This workshop had the largest number of attendees, 43 owners and managers of local tourism SMEs, mostly travel agencies and accommodation providers. In total, the Finance and Digital Skills workshops were attended by 120 participants in the four destinations.
According to PATA Chair Peter Semone, “Helping build resilience and increase sustainability in tourism is of great significance to us. We have been advocating for it since before the pandemic, but especially with our Tourism Destination Resilience Programme launched in 2021. Our aim is to ensure that the tourism sector never has to undergo the challenges and hardship witnessed during COVID-19. We are therefore delighted to see the high level of interest of SMEs in becoming part of this initiative, to help them be more resilient and adaptive.”
Patsian Low, Vice President of Inclusive Impact & Sustainability for Asia Pacific at Visa, added, “Visa has long been committed to the digital and financial upskilling of small and micro-businesses worldwide. Given the importance of tourism in Southeast Asia, we are delighted that our partnership with PATA has supported so many small businesses in tourism in the region to move towards greater digitalisation and financial empowerment. Our partnership with PATA is just one example of how Visa uplifts everyone, everywhere by being the best way to pay and be paid.”
For any queries about PATA’s sustainability and social responsibility initiatives, please contact ssr@PATA.org.