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SARS recovery: PATA launches project Phoenix

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) launched Project Phoenix, a global consumer communications campaign to…

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) launched Project Phoenix, a global consumer communications campaign to re-invigorate travel and tourism in Pacific Asia.

PATA said its initiative was in response to the battering the travel industry and economies in the region had taken due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bali bombs and SARS.

An International Labour Organisation (ILO) report suggests that 6.5 million jobs were lost in the global travel industry 2001-2002. The ILO forecasts that a further 5 million jobs are at risk unless the industry fights back to restore consumer confidence in travel and tourism.

Announcing the launch of Project Phoenix at a press conference at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok today, PATA President and CEO, Mr. Peter de Jong, said: This is an ambitious but practical reputation management initiative aimed at rebuilding consumer confidence in the travel experience and re-activating travel to and within Pacific Asia.

Warning that the process of recovery will be neither short nor easy, Mr. de Jong said: The time for the Pacific Asia travel and tourism recovery has arrived. Most World Health Organization travel advisories have been lifted, the post-war Iraq roadmap to peace appears to be on course and the travel and tourism industry is signalling its confidence to move forward once more. Now is the time to rebuild.

Mr. de Jong said Project Phoenix was a three-month consumer communications programme which would integrate with the recovery campaigns of the region`s national tourism offices.

Project Phoenix has three objectives:

  1. To restore consumer confidence in the travel experience.
  2. To create a consistent single voice for travel and tourism in Pacific Asia
  3. To drive business back to Pacific Asia destinations

Project Phoenix will deliver an objective, fully-integrated approach to recovery by working closely with global media to stimulate consumer interest in Pacific Asia travel, Mr. de Jong said.

In order to implement Project Phoenix, PATA has enlisted Singapore-based MDK Consultants, an international public relations firm with a strong travel and tourism track record in Pacific Asia and a global network of affiliated offices.

Project Phoenix will be funded in cash and in kind with contributions from national tourism offices, airlines, hotels, tour and travel operators.

Noting that recovery requires a global effort in combination with regional and national campaigns, Mr. de Jong said: Clearly we have to work together to restore consumer confidence in our industry. Project Phoenix is PATA`s blueprint for risk and reputation management in Pacific Asia travel and tourism – not just for SARS recovery but for other crises which may affect our industry.

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