01/20/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/20/2020 03:32
'Being PATA Face of the Future is continuously helping me build my network. It's great to have met various people with similar and different perspectives and experiences. Their sharing of knowledge and experiences truly inspires me and I often use them as blueprints to where I'd like to be in the next three, five or ten years.'Flori-Anne Dela Cruz
Through her commitment to the responsible development of travel and tourism, Flori-Anne Dela Cruz was awarded the PATA Face of the Future award in April 2019. As youth representative to the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) Board of Directors, Flori-Anne pushed forward her aspirations for the future of travel and tourism that can be expressed by the acronym GUAM (Going Green, Understanding Cultures, Appreciating Diversity, and Making Travel Accessible for All).
Almost a year has passed, but her passion doesn't seem to have diminished, while her pursuit for sustainable tourism continues. In a recent conversation with PATA, Flori-Anne speaks about her experience as the winner of the PATA Face of the Future, her views on sustainable tourism, and the future of the industry.
It has been almost a year since you won PATA Face of the Future. What are some of your most memorable experiences as an awardee?
In just a year as PATA Face of the Future awardee, I'd say my most memorable experience was when I had direct involvement and encounters with the young professionals of many different nations of the industry today. It gives me great pleasure to share my story as a young professional starting off her career and also my viewpoints of the global industry as a resident of Guam and the Pacific region.
How has being PATA Face of the Future changed your life?
Being PATA Face of the Future has not really changed my personal life. I think I'm still the same person really with an additional tool in my belt. I would say that it definitely did change my beliefs on the challenges the industry faces today and its efforts for youth involvement and development.
How has being PATA Face of the Future helped you along your career path?
As a young professional just starting off, being PATA Face of the Future is continuously helping me build my network. It's great to have met various people with similar and different perspectives and experiences. Their sharing of knowledge and experiences truly inspires me and I often use them as blueprints to where I'd like to be in the next three, five or ten years.
In your opinion, how will tourism evolve in the future?
Looking at trends in different industries, I think the tourism industry will follow a similar path and definitely have a more modern technological approach; but I think the industry will evolve where technology is just a vehicle for further emphasising the demand for experiencing rich cultural heritage and building meaningful relationships with people.
Now that sustainability is a buzzword in the tourism industry, how do you define sustainability?
For me, to put it simply, sustainability is always about being respectful and resourceful in how we are using our resources in all ways possible. Growing up, my family has this implicit principle to appreciate what we have today and try not to waste them all to yourself. This principle goes in a lot of aspects of our lives from the time and money we spend all the way to the natural environment we live in.
And how can the tourism industry achieve sustainable goals?
I think the industry sometimes overanalyses the term sustainability to the point that understanding the concept becomes quite a challenge. Often, there's a fear that the buzzword would mean to give up something they'd normally have and making extreme changes. For the industry to achieve even one of the sustainability goals, I think the stakeholders need to educate themselves on what the goals are and evaluate on how they can utilize both internal and external assets they have in a respectful and resourceful manner.
What is one thing that you wish you could change about the tourism industry?
I wish I could change how destinations are designed so people with physical limitations can travel and visit with ease. I'd like to see stakeholders take accessibility into consideration.
What are the roles of young tourism professionals in developing the tourism industry?
Young tourism professionals are really the movers and shakers of the industry. We are stewards in developing a sustainable tourism industry and resources of change and innovation. But, industry leaders of today should recognise, support and allow us to be in these roles.
Which skills do you believe are increasingly important for tourism professionals to have?
Soft skills are in high demand these days but there are two skills that industry leaders really look for and appreciate: critical thinking and problem solving skills. There will be challenges in the industry so being able to find creative and resourceful solutions will always be relevant.
What advice can you give for younger professionals in their careers?
Invest in yourself. Like Warren Buffet says, you're your biggest asset. Whether you are sure or unsure where you want to be or what your passions are, it's never a bad idea to invest some time and effort in improving yourself.
PATA is now accepting submissions for PATA Face of the Future 2020 until February 10, 2020. Winners will receive a round-trip economy air ticket and hotel accommodation to attend the Association's Dinner and PATA Awards Presentation during the PATA Annual Summit 2020 on Mar 31 - Apr 3, 2020 in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.
About PATA Face of the Future:
To highlight PATA's commitment to human capital development, the Association annually presents a special Face of the Future award and prize to an exceptional 'rising star' in the industry. All recipients of this prestigious award have exhibited initiative and leadership in the advancement of tourism as well as demonstrating commitment to the sustainable development of the Asia Pacific travel industry in line with PATA's mission.