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PATA and INCCA PCO Debate Deepens

Promotion Board's Setyanto Replies to Criticism from INCCA Concerning April PATA Conference.

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The polemic in the local press continues to deepen between Iqbal Alan Abdullah, the Chairman of the Indonesian Congress & Convention Association (INCCA), and Setyanto P. Santosa, Chairman of the Indonesian Culture and Tourism Promotion Board (BP Budpar) over the lack of a role for a local Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) in the planning and preparations for the 52nd Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Conference to be held in Bali, April 13-17, 2003.

INCCA's public criticism against the Government's failure to appoint a local PCO carried in Bali Update #334, evoked a response from Mr. Steyanto printed in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia February 11th edition, in which he confirmed that the Conference did not involve the services of a local PCO, as that job function was handled directly by PATA's Bangkok Head Office. He went on to explain that policy decisions by PATA precluded the appointment of a local PCO.

PATA Comments contacted Mr. Peter Semone, PATA's Vice-President based in Bangkok, who lent support to Mr. Steyanto's statements by commenting, "all PCO functions relating to the conference management, such as registration, booking of function rooms, catering, set-up of rooms and a/v, hotel bookings, badges, collateral, speakers, and travel arrangements for speakers and VIPs is done by PATA. PATA only requires the Indonesia Host and Organizing committees to assist with ground support."

According to Mr. Semone those items falling below the definition of "ground support" include logistics, arrival/departure and shuttle transportation, reconfirmation of air tickets, pre and post tours, spouse programs, sports activities and organization of the welcome dinner.

Mr. Semone added, "the DMC (editor: Destination Management Company) functions that are asked of the Host and Organizing Committees have always been fulfilled by the cooperative efforts of the local PATA Chapter and Tourism Board/Ministry. There has never been the need to hire another party to fulfill any of these functions. The PATA spirit of volunteerism has prevailed in providing the foundation of successful PATA conferences."

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