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Mekong forum celebrates a decade of co-operation

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce programme highlights to celebrate the 10th Mekong Tourism Forum…

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce programme highlights to celebrate the 10th Mekong Tourism Forum, under the theme Celebrating a Decade of Co-Operation. The Forum will be held March 25-27, 2005 at the Angkor Century Resort and Spa in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia, the Forum is being organised by PATA in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Forum attracts leading government sector tourism officials, tour operators, hoteliers, investors, consultants, and representatives from airlines, travel distribution services and the media.

Speakers will deliver insights on subjects such as Growing Up, Getting On 1995-2004, 2005-2014, GMS Tourism Sector Strategies, Expanding Mekong Tourism, Strengthening Regional Software, Sustaining Cultural Uniqueness, and Supporting Poverty Alleviation.

The initial conclusions of an Asian Development Bank-sponsored strategy and action plan for the Greater Mekong Region will also be revealed. There will be destination presentations from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan province of China (PRC).

Professor Walter Jamieson, Dean at the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii, will present the emerging human resource and capacity development needs of the Greater Mekong Subregion. He will focus on destination planning and management, heritage tourism, and tourism as a tool to fight poverty.

Mr Richard A Engelhardt, UNESCO`s Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific, will make recommendations which aim to change the occasionally destructive and contentious relationship between tourism and heritage conservation. He will provide a blueprint for transforming tourism into an effective tool for heritage conservation at the community level.

Forum speaker, Mr Bert van Walbeek, Managing Director of The Winning Edge, said: After a decade of GMS co-operation, we are now entering the second stage of working together. It is a much more global tourism world than 10 years ago. We must therefore successfully marry both `hardware` solutions with `software` human resource development. We want a situation where cultures, experiences and education combine in a cocktail of wisdom and tolerance.

PATA Vice President-Development Mr Peter Semone said: The nine Mekong Tourism Forums since 1996 have played a pivotal role in harnessing the collective strengths of the public and private sectors in the subregion. A series of new challenges for future co-operation will be presented at this year`s Forum.

PATA members may register for US$120 per delegate, which is a discount of US$80 off the non-member rate of US$200. Spouses and accompanying persons may participate in the social functions for an additional US$50 per person. A late fee of US$20 applies to registrations received after March 1, 2005.

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