Milestone of 100 Issues + Reunion Dinner + NY Dragon Boat Festival + Walk the Talk + Tokyo + Member News + DO Travel Rewards + Busiest Airports + The latest news for you

Issue 100, August 8, 2023

New York

Celebrating 100th Newsletter – Issue 100

Celebrating an unexpected milestone of 100 issues of NY PATA newsletters in 18 months. NY PATA Newsletter open rate metric is 64%. The industry average is 22% – 34%.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

House of Joy

28 Pell Street, New York NY 10013

Dinner with Wine, Beer, or Soft Drink

$65 pp includes tax and gratuity

Reservation and Confirmation of Payment required


NY PATA Newsletters

Dear Elizabeth,

I realize you will soon be publishing the 100th edition of the NY PATA Newsletter. I would like to congratulate you on the fine job in producing these educational and informative well written newsletters. I enjoy reading them and wait for each new edition with anticipation. I can imagine how time taking it is to produce one meaningful newsletter that will inform and enlighten members about Asia Pacific and travel matters in general. 100 is superb. Please keep it up.

Best regards,

Samuel Seyoum, CTC


Amazing Hemispheres

Thank you, Samuel Seyoum

Best regards,


NYC’s Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

The wildly entertaining Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (HKDBF-NY) will be held Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. For thirty successful years HKDBF-NY, the international, multicultural celebration and sporting event, has attracted more than 20,000 attendees throughout North America. It’s the largest multicultural festival in

New York and the largest festival of its kind in the U.S.

With 160+ teams participating, this year’s 31st annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is expected to bring some fierce competition. Teams consisting of 20 crewmen–including 18 paddlers, a drummer, and a steers person–race across the water in colorful, custom-made teak boats, custom made by a small coterie of craftsmen in Hong Kong. The boats each weigh one ton and are colorfully painted with a dragon head at the front and tail at the rear.

The competition begins with an opening ceremony on Saturday at noon, joined by the traditional Dragon Dance and Team Parade. The race takes place both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus the “Hello Hong Kong Invitational” will be part of the competition for the first time ever, sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

A main stage will serve as the platform for performances by the best regional multicultural artists from across the globe, including the ever popular Shaolin Martial Artists, Dance China, traditional Japanese dancers Junko Fisher and Manhattan Taiko, violinist Daisy Jopling, and more. Between performances attendees can peruse booths filled with traditional Asian folk arts and crafts along with a multicultural food court and a several food trucks.

Admission to the HKDBF-NY is completely free, and events will take place rain or shine. The full event schedule can be found here.

“Walk the Talk: Systematic

Approaches to Sustainable Tourism”

The 3-day event, from June 21-23, brought together delegates from the public and private sectors for inspiring and insightful discussions on some of the major issues in marketing and managing tourism growth as the travel and tourism industry looks for new opportunities to promote sustainability within the industry.

“The systematic approach to sustainable tourism entails attributes, measurement, and verification. It involves setting realistic targets and timelines for businesses and destinations to gradually improve their sustainability practices. Compared to other sectors, the tourism industry is vulnerable due to loose verification; to address this, a robust verification system such as GSTC’s Accreditation Programme is necessary, which includes training, awareness, and a reliable certification process.

It is also important to understand the levels of verification. It goes from zero verification to 1st party assessment which is most likely an internal guidance system, then 2nd party verification where the impartiality might be unclear, and finally 3rd party certification by an accredited certification body.” Highlights of speech by Randy Durband.

Sustainability is a journey that is constantly evolving as we learn to know more about what we can do and what we can do better. It is a purpose-led business’s responsibility to educate its customers, even if it’s at a speed of one step at a time. It is important to consider the long-term economic feasibility of the “sustainable tourism” plan before reaching out to the communities. It is also essential to partner with local organizations that are impactful at the grass-root level, so they can engage the local communities and show consumers convincing proof that they could also create impacts through joyous, uncompromised travel. Highlights of speech by Natalie Kidd.

Tokyo, Japan

This year, for the first time in four years, the Tokyo Koenji Awa Odori returns in all its glory, August 27 and 28. Catch the action in Koenji, Suginami City, just six minutes by train from Shinjuku Station. The “Awa Odori” (Awa Dance), originally a local performance art of Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku, has become one of Japan’s most important festivals. The Awa Odori was first held in Koenji in 1957 to attract crowds to the shopping district, and is now an event that draws the thrumming energy of as many as one million spectators. Dancers and musicians parade through the main street and shopping district in a long procession, whipping up excitement throughout the whole neighborhood. Moved by the roar of the passionate crowds, over 10,000 dancers will flow through the town of Koenji across the 8 routes that form the shape of a giant “8”.

Member News

Catherine Heald – As the K-wave flows around the globe, Korea’s in-vogue capital, Seoul, has fast become a must-visit city in Asia — with K-pop, modern art, cosmetics, K-BBQ, and much more on the menu.

Samuel Seyoum – Phuket (Interview with Michelin starred restaurant chef)

Simone Bassous – Oceania’s tag line is Home of the Finest Cuisine at Sea. and it is truly so. Jacques Pepin is Executive Chef for the Line. Wine pairing is de rigueur every night! Aperitifs French Champagne. Have not had a single martini, except flying on SAS. 

Simone and Ray heading to the Arctic Circle. Hardly any night time. Dinner starts at 6:30pm and lasts at least 3 hours, so have been missing the shows. When dinner is over the sun is still high in the sky!

Michael Luongo – NATJA North American Travel Journalists Association Featured Journalist for the Month of August, 2023

I had been their Journalist of the Year (Grand Prize in Travel Journalism) for 2010 and 2014 – so I talk about that in the interview – as well as talking about my journey as a travel journalist, my experiences in various locales, some of my favorite places and

most memorable experiences from Buenos Aires to Afghanistan which I call like

‘driving into the Bible,’ – advice for those starting out, as well as what I am

doing now at Purdue and my TEDx talk on tourism within conflict zones. Let me

know your thoughts and Happy Travels!

Aki Hirai – Tokyo NOW Newsletter

Dominican Republic – DO Travel Rewards

President Luis Abinader and Tourism Minister David Collado launched the DO Travel Rewards platform on Thursday. The platform is an innovative global loyalty program aimed at rewarding travel agents who bring tourists to the Dominican Republic. The launch took place at the Hotel Jaragua and was attended by over 500 international travel agents from across the Americas.

The Minister of Tourism highlighted that this loyalty program is the first of its kind in the country’s history and underscores the government’s commitment to continue promoting tourism in the Dominican Republic. The platform aims to build loyalty, provide information, and strengthen relationships with travel agents.

Minister Collado mentioned that the initiative is part of a broader strategy that involved visits to major cities responsible for sending tourists to the Dominican Republic. The program offers rewards, training, information, and familiarization trips to various destinations within the country.

Tour operators and travel agents have long played a crucial role as marketing, sales, and service channels, contributing over US$5 billion to the Dominican economy annually. The DO Travel Rewards program aims to recognize their efforts and foster continued collaboration in promoting the country as a top tourist destination. Dominican Today

Asia’s Busiest Airports

Asia accounts for a third of the world’s passenger flights in August, according to Cirium data. China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, and Thailand are all in the world’s top 20 most-served countries. For most, big domestic markets are critically important.


Guangzhou has more passenger flights in August than any other Asian airport, as detailed in the following table. It is so busy that it is also the world’s eighth-busiest by this metric and the only airport in Asia to feature in the world’s top 10. Guangzhou has jumped from third place in 2019, overtaking Beijing Capital – which was first – and Shanghai Pudong. Beijing’s huge fall was mainly because of the new Daxing airport, which has split its operation. Daxing itself now ranks 12th in Asia. This is a problem when examining airports rather than cities. At the city level, Beijing would be second in the vast continent, behind Shanghai.

Indonesia’s Soekarno-Hatta is the only airport in Southeast Asia in this top 10 list.

Thank you for taking the time to read our NY PATA Newsletter articles, and for your support of NY PATA.

Elizabeth Chin

Executive Director

Editor, Newsletter

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

PATA New York Chapter


PATA New York Chapter, founded in 1962, is a not-for-profit membership-based association that is dedicated to facilitate meaningful partnerships to enhance the value, quality and sustainable growth of travel and tourism to and from countries in APAC, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) founded in 1951 is the recognized authority on Asia Pacific travel and tourism. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research, and innovative events to its member organizations, which including government, state and city tourism bodies; international airlines and airports; hospitality organizations, and educational institutions, as well as thousands of young tourism professional (YTP) members across the world.