Thanushka Nanayakkara

In an exclusive interaction with Travel And Tour World, Thanushka Nanayakkara, Founding Member and Chair of Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) shares his views on how Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) is working to promote tourism.

Travel And Tour World: Share with us how Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) is working to promote tourism?

Thanushka Nanayakkara: Of course. The Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) achieves tourism promotion via multi-pronged channels. These can include facilitating information exchange, member support and consumer awareness advocacy.

Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) provides a professional industry forum where members exchange information on a variety of sector specific items. These include facilitating discussion leading to strategies for advancing tourism standards in member jurisdictions, on internal, regional, and national and level, as well as learning or conceiving, through forums, improved destination marketing practices.

APTO support for members additionally provides a platform for Travel Operators to discover partnerships and joint venture opportunities that bring new tourism to a destination.

APTO consumer awareness programs communicate the virtues of booking through a well experienced travel operator whom consumers can trust that have implemented APTO approved international safety protocols. This has delivered peace of mind to travellers and revitalized tourism in destinations. APTO conducted a health safety education for members to implement during the pandemic as an example that supporting a rebound in leisure tourist.

Travel consumers are becoming increasingly weary of the growing trend of misinformation online. Trust is becoming the principal currency of business between consumers and vendors.

Coming out of the pandemic, consumers can be said as gravitating to more established travel companies and APTO members have been receiving amongst the highest travel demand in the industry. APTO consumer awareness activities are widespread through advertising to participation on the world’s largest travel events, promoting APTO members.

Travel And Tour World: Share with us about the role of Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) and how APTO is working with tourism boards.

Thanushka Nanayakkara: APTO is the first and only association of its kind exclusively made of the world’s most experienced Travel Operators, The APTO membership consist of organizations that have pioneered commercial tourism in their respective countries, and operators who have risen to the highest standards of excellence in the travel and tourism sector.

APTO fills an important role in the present global travel ecosystem between service providers and travel consumers. The role of APTO is establishing a gold standard that communicates trust to consumers and establishes qualitative benchmarks with Travel Operators that benefits the industry as a whole. APTO is a brand the travel market can trust for destination expertise and protection of consumer ravel investments.

APTO works with supporting tourism boards through promotion of destination brands in various international markets. These can include sponsoring and co-sponsorship of tourism promotion events as well as connecting tourism boards with travel marketers.

Travel And Tour World: How Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) is working to make a favorable marketplace for tourism investment?

Thanushka Nanayakkara: APTO partners with events and organizations to communicate the importance of working only with established travel operators for expertise, reliability and the best protection of consumer travel investments. In this capacity APTO participates in various international events communicating its messaging and the virtues of APTO member companies.

APTO members are also long-standing partners of a number of the world’s major travel exhibitions, such as the World Travel Market (WTM) and the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), as examples, that deliver awareness and benefits of reserving travel through APTO members to global audiences.

Travel And Tour World: How Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO)  is working to promote sustainable tourism ?

Thanushka Nanayakkara: Sustainable Tourism is defined by adopting practices that respect the local people and the travellers, the cultural heritage and the environment, benefitting the Travel Operators and Host countries. Present-day traveller awareness and global government policies are gravitating toward sustainability and conservation more than at any other point in history. Climate change, resource accessibility and over-tourism will inevitably disrupt the industry’s traditional status-quo of operation.  For travel business to continue to thrive, adoption of sustainable operational policies is inevitable.

APTO provides Travel Operators with an understandingof responsible tourism, facilitating the adoption of sustainable tourism practices through education programs covering business improvement, trade technological advancement and constructing consumer awareness marketing, delivered through APTO mechanisms such as events, workshops, seminars and member newsletters.

Travel And Tour World: How Alliance of Pioneer Travel Operators (APTO) is working for technological upliftment in travel industry.

Thanushka Nanayakkara: Due to the establishment of APTO members, APTO is a meeting point for travel technology and travel industry.

Tech companies serving the travel industry can connect with APTO in launching new systems where it would like to connect with leading travel operators to enter specific markets or obtain insight from highly experienced travel operators on how technology can be innovated to improve the industry.

Due to APTO members’ establishment and vast years of experience, travel tech companies have a resource of accessing the best in the industry, to efficiently drive technological progress. Presently there are North American members that are working with Middle East tech business, for tech development that will deliver new reservation capabilities into the Canadian and United States of America travel marketplace, as example.


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