Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, I Gede Ardika, accompanied by the Executive Chairman of the Indonesian Culture & Tourism Promotion Board, Setyanto P. Santosa, paid a visit to Bali on Friday, March 14, 2003, to review ongoing preparations for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Conference to be held on the island April 13-17, 2003.
In a meeting with members of the local and national organizing committee, the Minister reviewed the detailed agenda for the prestigious gathering of world-wide tourism leaders, calling for all members of the local community to spare no efforts in providing a safe and enjoyable stay on the island. The Minister also saluted the decision of local hoteliers who have extended a bonus night to PATA Conference delegates, saying he hope the additional night's stay at the end of the conference would permit the participants a chance to further help the local economy by fitting in additional shopping.
Bombing Trials to be Delayed
Also present at the conference planning sessions was Bali Chief of Police, Irjen Budi Setyawan, who reported that some 3,000 police officers will deployed during the conference to ensure security.
Bali's Police Chief also indicated that an informal understanding with State Prosecutors had been reached scheduling the commencement of trials of the Bali Bombers until after the close of the PATA Conference.
Disappointing Attendance Figures
While efforts are underway to increase last-minute registrations for the conference, current attendance figures stand at approximately 600 delegates, including 250 invited press. Initial estimates were that between 1,000-1,500 would attend the PATA Conference. In the remaining days leading up to the Conference a campaign is underway to increase the number of Indonesian participants, currently standing at only 12 delegates.
In order to increase Indonesian participation, generous discounts are available on local registration and domestic air fares from Garuda and Merpati Nusantara. A special registration of $40 is also available for local academics and students wishing to attend the PATA Conference.
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