Earlier this year, Keerthi (“HappyK”) Hapugasdeniya, Founder of Asia Pacific Onboard Travel (APOT), announced the return of the Asia-based networking event for the Asian hospitality travel industry. This year’s gathering takes place in Danang, Vietnam from November 25 to 28, marking the 11th conference that prides itself on doing things differently.

In previous years, APOT was held in Perth, Bali, Danang, Shanghai, Colombo and Incheon.

APOT is a non-profit organization committed to cultivating professional relationships and sharing knowledge with industry peers through networking – all in a relaxed environment, Jeremy Clark, APOT CEO, tells PAX International.

The event can host a limited number of industry professionals (maximum 150 people), so prior registration is necessary.

In previous years, APOT was held in Perth, Bali, Danang, Shanghai, Colombo and Incheon.

As Vietnam hosts the event this year for the first time since 2014, here is a PAX exclusive on what attendees can expect from the itinerary.

APOT 2023 calendar
The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. local time on November 25 at the Furama Resort Danang. The Welcome Cocktail Danang-style event is a relaxed, poolside setting with skilled bartenders serving cocktails, live music and gourmet cuisine. HappyK and Clark highlight that there will be interactive games to play and time to socialize for those who prefer the organic approach to networking.

Co-sponsors for the event include Bamboo AirwaysVietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines.

The second day is packed with promises of fun, sponsored by the Danang Tourism and Promotions Department. The morning starts with an exclusive tour of Bana Hill with one of Danang’s top tour operators. There will be a cable car ride, lunch provided and views of the sunset. In the evening, attendees will experience the beauty of Hoi An by night, with a sponsored dinner from Taste Vietnam.

Day three takes off a little differently, moving the conference to the waters with an exclusive river cruise. Attendees board the tour bus at 8:15 a.m. from the hotel lobby and head to the dock where they will transfer to a modern river cruise ship. The day unfolds as a seminar aboard the boat, with speakers, musical performances and presentations until 4:00 p.m. Lunch, Vietnamese streetfood-style, is provided onboard. Then there will be a closing ceremony dinner at 6:30 p.m. The meal is four courses with music, speeches and dancing to follow.

Entertainment and dancing is plenty at APOT networking events

Colleagues and friends “networking differently” at APOT 2028 conference

Day four, on November 28, gives industry professionals the opportunity to foster the relationships cultivated thus far with a golf tournament. With a discounted rate to play, golf runs from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch is provided at the golf club and winners receive trophies.

Action shot from a previous year’s golf tournament

Setting records
The conference concludes with the annual tradition of attempting a Guinness World Record. In Danang in 2014, APOT achieved the record for the world’s Longest Spring Roll, with a roll of 500 meters. In 2015, the event celebrated the largest tea party in the world, serving 35,000 cups of tea in Sri Lanka.

APOT loves to do things differently, and this year is no exception. The APOT Guinness World Record challenge 2023 is a record for largest Phở Bò, the signature beef noodle soup of Vietnam’s noodle soup carnival. In partnership with Danang Tourism and Promotions Department, Worldchefs and Furama Resort Danang, restaurants of Danang will participate to help APOT achieve this record.

There is also the Jetsetter’s Palate: The Ultimate Airline Professional Chef Competition, which chefs can register for online. The competition includes presenting an appetizer, main course and dessert, all under the theme “Regional Rivals.” The competition briefing will be held at the Lobby Lounge at 6:00 p.m. on November 25, with the competition and judging planned for the next day (subject to change). Winners will be announced at the November 27 gala dinner.

Professional Chef Competition

“There’s never a dull moment at APOT. It is a unique environment for ‘networking differently,’” explains HappyK.

This year, APOT welcomes the region’s tour operators and air freight operators to foster new connections among industry colleagues and allow familiar faces to reconnect.

Check out more photos of previous years of APOT networking events below:

Keerthi (“HappyK”) Hapugasdeniya, Founder of APOT (right), with colleagues and friends at previous APOT networking event in 2016

Keerthi (“HappyK”) Hapugasdeniya, Founder of APOT

Rick Lundstrom, PAX International retired Editor in Chief, poses for a photo at APOT networking event