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Rebuilding Hope and Opportunity in Myanmar and Sichuan

Rebuilding Hope and Opportunity in Myanmar and Sichuan (Forimmediaterelease.net) BANGKOK, May 28, 2008 - The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Foundation is calling on the travel industry to support a recovery fund to help rebuild the lives of tourism industry employees in the devastated areas of Myanmar and Sichuan, China.

PATA Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Terry Francis (pictured) today wrote to all PATA members, urging them to make donations to the “PATA Foundation Rebuilding Fund" to help speed the recovery process for tourism communities of both destinations.

“All of us have been greatly saddened by the tragedy unfolding in Myanmar due to Cyclone Nargis and the earthquake in Sichuan. Many of the victims are part of the travel community - and we need to act quickly to help them," said Mr Francis.

The Fund will be administered by the PATA Foundation, the charitable arm of PATA, which for the last 24 years has made a significant difference by delivering contributions to grassroots conservation, cultural heritage and educational projects in Asia Pacific.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunmani, the Foundation co-ordinated the Tsunami Recovery Fund which distributed close to US$250,000 to eight worthy projects in southern Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Mr Francis said that to ensure donations were spent wisely, PATA and the PATA Foundation were inviting recommendations from the people in the best position to know what is needed - the National Tourism Offices, the regional authorities, local PATA Chapters, as well as local members - to recommend and submit proposals for recovery projects.

“Because our focus is on people, we expect proposals will relate to employment opportunities, to training and re-training. In fact, any initiative which will deliver significant benefits to tourism employees suffering work-related difficulties due to the disaster will be considered by the Fund," he said.

“Already we have received recommendations on trustworthy agencies we can work with in Myanmar through our members who have offices in the country."

The PATA Foundation will ensure that only highly reputable organisations and community-based action groups, including universities, government training institutes, national chambers of commerce, trade associations and specialised agencies are engaged to implement the programmes.

“With solidarity we can turn crisis into hope and hope into opportunity," Mr Francis said. “We must never forget that in the world of tourism, people make the difference."

Donations can be made by visiting www.pata.org/foundation.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

For high resolution images of PATA Foundation Chairman Terry Francis and the PATA Foundation logo, contact href="mailto:communications@PATA.org">communications@PATA.org.

ABOUT PATA
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association that acts 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, it enhances the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region.

PATA provides leadership to the collective efforts of nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, more than 55 international airlines and cruise lines, and hundreds of travel industry companies. In addition, thousands of travel professionals belong to more than 30 PATA chapters worldwide.

PATA's Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) offers unrivalled data and insights, including Asia Pacific inbound and outbound statistics, analyses and forecasts, as well as in-depth reports on strategic tourism markets.

For more information, please visit www.PATA.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Ms Ratana Poopitakchatkaew Director - Board and Foundation Relations Office: +66 2 658 2000 extension 102 Email: foundation@PATA.org

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