Fri, 11 Apr 2003

Foreign delegates to attend PATA conference

The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

President Megawati Soekarnoputri has confirmed that she will open the 52nd Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) conference in Nusa Dua, Bali on Monday.

More than 732 foreign delegates from 42 countries had confirmed they would attend the six-day meeting, despite concerns over the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) disease.

"Last Wednesday, we received (confirmation) from only around 595 (foreign) participants, but as of Thursday morning, we have received additional confirmations," said I Gede Pitana, head of Bali Tourism Office on Thursday.

The annual PATA meeting will discuss various issues on tourism, security, culture, environment and other tourism related issues.

A number of distinguished speakers, including travel experts, travel and hotel businesspeople and academic scholars will share their views and experiences with participating delegates during the conference, which will end on April 17.

Among the distinguished speakers are Joseph A. Mclnerney (CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association), Michael D. Gehrisch (CEO of the International Association of Convention Visitor Bureaus) and Dawn Drew (vice president & publisher of National Geographic Traveler, USA).

In addition, local and international media including CNN, BBC World, National Geographic and hundreds of travel publications from Asia-Pacific regions will cover the conference.

To anticipate the possible entrance of those suffering from SARS, the Ngurah Rai airport has planned to increase its screening system, as well as to equip its sanitation and waste processing plants in order to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.