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ASEAN Unity: Ensuring a brighter future

Resilience and unity will enable ASEAN member countries to seize opportunities, even as they strive to manage and overcome the problems and challenges that…

Resilience and unity will enable ASEAN member countries to seize opportunities, even as they strive to manage and overcome the problems and challenges that recent events have inflicted on the tourism industry. ASEAN Unity: Ensuring A Brighter Future is the theme of the 22nd ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 25 January 2003.

The ATC, to be held at Chaktomuk Conference Hall, is the first formal session of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2003, scheduled from 20 to 27 January. The half-day conference will focus on the impact of global and national issues on the development of tourism into and within the region. The roles and responsibilities of ASEAN as well as each national tourist organisation (NTO) will be discussed.

Dr Dawid de Villiers, Deputy Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, will be the keynote speaker. He will present the macro perspective on how the current political and economic climate worldwide will continue to affect tourism investment, particularly in ASEAN, given the growing concern about security issues. He will also look at the positive side, and touch on opportunities in the current situation, and outline the paths that ASEAN countries can take to reach brighter horizons.

A distinguished international panel of industry professionals will then explore these challenges and opportunities in depth, engaging delegates in a lively forum. The line-up includes Barbara M. Peisert, Planning & Contracting Manager, Longhaul Travel from TUI Deutschland GMBH, Prakit Chinamourphong, Secretary-General, Thai Hotels Association and a couple of other travel industry practitioners. Tunku Iskandar, Group President of Asian Development Bank, Malaysia, will moderate the panel discussion.

The ATC sets the platform for the 22nd ATF and the face-to-face business discussions that will follow at TRAVEX, the Travel Exchange, on 26 and 27 January. The venue for TRAVEX is the National Cultural Centre (NCC), which is being extensively re-configured to function as an exhibition venue. All 400 booths have been fully subscribed and buyers can expect a diverse selection of tourism products and services to be on offer.

Some 1,200 buyers, exhibitors and media are expected to converge in Phnom Penh for ATF, the first time that the event is being held in Cambodia in ATF’s 22-year history. Besides the conference and exhibition, a full slate of activities – from complimentary city tours, a colourful opening ceremony and golf to theme functions hosted by Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand – will ensure delegates get the most from their participation in this annual trade show. Cambodia is also launching Visit Cambodia Year 2003 at ATF 2003. The theme is A World of Treasures, and ATF 2003 is probably one of the best ways to discover what the kingdom has in store.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.