HATA’s annual meeting to head to Dubai, gets AI focus

Members of the Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents (HATA) have unanimously voted for Dubai as the destination for the 45th HATA Annual Overseas Convention, scheduled for October 12-14 this year.

The last time HATA members convened in a longhaul destination was in 1997, when the Annual Overseas Convention was held in Johannesburg.

Dubai is the location for this year’s HATA meeting; Dubai skyline pictured

Convention chairman, Edmund Tsang, told TTGmice that prior to the vote, some members had asked why wasn’t a longhaul destination featured for the Annual Overseas Convention for such a long time. In response, HATA engaged its members through questionnaires to seek their comments and recommendation on a suitable longhaul destination.

The other destination in consideration was Malacca, Malaysia.

Tsang also revealed that the event’s theme will be, How Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacts on the future of travel.

He believes the topic will “draw much interest” and expects to see 110 delegates plus accompanying persons in attendance this year.

Tsang said: “AI is new to many businesses as a possible tool which could be widely used to overcome the shortage of skilled staff and manpower. It is a good chance to educate travel agents on how to address challenges of the future, especially our SME travel agents who have shown a fear of AI. They can learn to apply AI to the task of tracking clients and discovering new ones.”

He added that AI could be applied to credit and cash flow and be used to support other aspects of the business process, such as fidelity monitoring, cheaper payment gateways, sign-off motivation and customer loyalty programmes.

AI has applications in the business events space too, he opined.

“Time is of the essence for (business event) customers who are more savvy, more demanding and more sophisticated in identifying partners for the best results. They expect their business partners (event agents) to be skilled and able to utilise technology too.”

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