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Sri Lanka Tourism Hosts 57th PATA AGM

Sri Lanka Tourism Hosts 57th PATA AGM (Forimmediaterelease.net) COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, April 4, 2008 ˆ Colombo, Sri Lanka will host the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) 57th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Board of Directors meetings from today until Monday, April 7.

At a press briefing this morning attended by more than 20 local media, PATA thanked and commended Sri Lanka Tourism and the PATA Sri Lanka Chapter for offering such a warm welcome to delegates and for making the most of the opportunity to showcase destination Sri Lanka to the leaders of Asia Pacific travel and tourism.

The AGM and Board of Directors meetings will help define the agenda for Asia Pacific‚s peak travel and tourism body over the next 12 months and beyond.

All the stakeholders on the press conference panel this morning, including PATA 2007-2008 Chairman Brian Deeson and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Renton de Alwis, agreed that holding such an important travel industry event in Sri Lanka was a vote of confidence in the destination.

Mr Deeson recalled a time in the 1970s when Sri Lanka was one of the most popular and successful destinations in Asia Pacific.

He said the island had everything travellers were looking for, and for travellers from Europe it was much closer than competing destinations in Southeast Asia.

However, media coverage of the political troubles in the country had dented the confidence of travelling consumers.

PATA is working with Sri Lanka Tourism and the PATA Sri Lanka Chapter to supply the destination‚s travel and tourism industry with the tools and knowledge to responsibly manage the perceptions of travellers and market their products more successfully.

PATA President and CEO Peter de Jong commended Sri Lanka Tourism for positioning itself as a world leader in responsible tourism and for responding to the universal threat of climate change with the unique Earth Lung initiative.

Mr de Jong urged travel and tourism stakeholders to come to the PATA CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change, April 29-30 in Bangkok, Thailand to share best practices and commit to positive action. Mr de Alwis will present the Earth Lung initiative at the event.

In Colombo tomorrow and Sunday (April 5-6), closed-door sessions attended exclusively by PATA members and special invitees will take place at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo.

Prof Mohan Munasinghe, Vice Chair of the Noble Peace Prize-winning Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, will address the opening session Saturday morning entitled 'Climate Change ˆ Obstacles and Opportunities‚.

On Monday, April 7, travel and tourism stakeholders, including non-members of PATA, will join a morning session entitled 'Human Capital Challenge ˆ It‚s Time to Invest‚. Non-members pay a US$50 fee, which includes lunch hosted by the Macau Government Tourist Office.

The PATA Foundation's Annual Charity Gala Dinner, presented by Sri Lanka Tourism, will take place on Sunday, April 6, at the Galle Face Hotel. Tickets for the Dinner cost US$100 each (US$950 for a table of 10 seats), with all proceeds going to the PATA Foundation's grants and educational programmes in Asia Pacific.

This evening will also see the presentation of PATA Honours in five categories: Face of the Future, Chapter Awards, Awards of Merit, Life Membership and Chairman‚s Award.

ABOUT PATA
Mission statement: “The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. In partnership with PATA's private and public sector members, we enhance the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region."

Founded in 1951, PATA is the recognised authority on Asia Pacific travel and tourism. PATA provides leadership and advocacy to the collective efforts of nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, more than 55 airlines and cruise lines, and hundreds of travel industry companies. In addition, thousands of travel professionals belong to dozens of PATA chapters worldwide. PATA is a not-for-profit organisation.

Find out more at www.PATA.org.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Marketing Communications, David Gillbanks Telephone: + 662 658 2000 Email: david@pata.org Sri Lanka Tourism Contact Assistant Director SLTPB Prashanthi Ravindran Prashanthi@srilanka.travel / 2426929

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