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PATA Conference Closes

Despite Numerous Challenges, 52nd Annual Conference Deemed an Overall Success.

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In the midst of a world in which international travel seems under attack on a variety of fronts, the 52nd Annual Conference of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) closed on Wednesday, April 16, 2003, in Bali with calls from its Chairman to unite in the battle to meet the many challenges currently facing international tourism.

PATA's Chairman, Richard Gordon, called for unity among the association's members in confronting terrorism, SARS, and government travel advisories unfavorable to travel.

Travel Advisories

Using Bali as an example, Gordon was quoted in the Jakarta Post (17/4) as saying, "Bali, for instance, has just experienced a terrorist attack, but I feel safe here and everybody attending the conference felt happy and secure because the Indonesian government has done a good job in following the security requirements."

SARS Threat

Despite the near-panic situation occasioned by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare, over 900 participants from 42 countries attended the conference from April 14-17, 2003, centered at Bali's International Convention Center in Nusa Dua.

A More Vocal Role for PATA

PATA's President, Peter de Jong, pledged that the organization would be actively involved in a number of projects to preserve tourism's fortunes. In addition to providing frameworks and guidelines for crisis management, PATA would be seeking consensus on major issues from among its membership and then adopt a more prominent role in being heard on issues fundamental to the tourism industry.

Invitation Extended to East Timor

During the course of the conference, PATA extended an invitation to East Timor, the world's newest State, to join the organization dedicated to the promotion of Asia-Pacific travel.

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