971 registered delegates representing 42 countries, together with a large entourage of local officials and tourism personalities attended the gala welcoming reception for the 52nd Annual Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Conference held at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Culural Park on Sunday evening, April 13, 2003.
Beginning with cocktails served at the base of the Lord Wisnu statue, that will form the top of the massive statue when completed, attendees were treated to a panoramic sunset view of the two oceans that laps Baliís east and west shores. Shortly after sunset, participants descended some three stories of stairs to the Lotus Pond Park - a dramatic man-made canyon carved into the limestone hills. There, formal welcoming speeches by Bali's Governor and the Minister of Culture and Tourism were presented followed by a buffet dinner and a cultural musical extravaganza "Beautiful Indonesia," choreographed by Guruh Soekarno Putra.
The close of evening's welcoming cocktail saw a dramatic fireworks display, visible by the entire southern half of the island.
On Monday morning, April 14, 2003, the conference was official opened at Bali International Convention Center by President Megawati Soekarnoputri.
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