‘Alone we can do little, together we can do a lot,” this is the rallying call of the newly-installed Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) President Patria “Pattie” T. Chiong, as the largest and most prestigious travel agency association in the country gears up to the 30th Travel Tour Expo 2023 and the 8th International Travel Trade Expo 2023 from February 3-5, 2023.
“It is without a doubt that the tourism and travel sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Through the tough times, PTAA did its best to take care of its members and continued to be of service to the public. We stood together united during the good times, and more so during the challenges brought by pandemic of the previous years. Slowly, the industry is on the road to recovery; we have seen the return of travelers and the rising demand for products and services involving tourism and travel. Now, we must face these new challenges. This is the time we must work together, link arms, and help one another,” adds Chiong.
One of these challenges, according to Chiong, is the rising demand for more flights for international and local travel. While this development comes as a good sign of an industry in recovery, PTAA, along with other industry players, must meet the growing travel requirements of the public. “While we welcome this problem, we are challenged to cope up and we are trying our very best to do just that,” says Chiong.
In 2023, under her leadership, travelers can also expect new destinations being offered by travel and tour operators under PTAA. “We have several familiarization trips lined-up so we can introduce new trips and packaged tours. We are also focusing on visa-free countries like the 10 member nations of the ASEAN. They’re good destinations with less hassle to the travel agencies and the travelers, too,” adds Chiong.
A traveler with a passion herself, the well-traveled Chiong shares that her favorite destinations are Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Denmark and Norway. As a veteran practitioner in the industry, she is currently the Vice President of West Gate Travel and Tours Inc. with more than 40 years of experience in the travel and tourism sector.
In 1974, Chiong first worked at Philippine Airlines as Chinese Interpreter and then as airport station supervisor. From 1979-1991, she was manager for China, Hong Kong and Singapore and retired from PAL Express in 2009 as its Senior Vice President for administration.
Later, she joined Guatson International Travel and Tours in 2010. She is the past president of SKAL Manila and past international counsellor for SKAL Philippines, an affiliate of SKAL International, a global organization of travel and tourism professionals. She has successfully won the bid for Manila to host the SKAL Asian Congress in 2015.
Aside from travel and tourism, Chiong is also very active in socio-civic activities. She is the past district secretary for Rotary International District 3830 and past president of the Zonta Club of Fort Bonifacio.
She is a recipient of several awards as a student, airline professional and socio-civic advocate. She hails from Jolo, Sulu and completed her studies in Notre Dame of Jolo College and Ateneo de Manila University.
For PTAA, she is the former Executive Vice President from 2017-2018, Secretary General in 2021, and currently a member of the Board of Ethics. She represented PTAA as its official representative to the Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA) from 2015-2017, and alternate representative to ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) from 2015-2017.
Chiong is also a member of the Organizing Committee for PTAA TravelTour Expo 2023.