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( BANGKOK, THAILAND, August 8, 2007 - Sir Richard Branson is the latest influential personality to endorse the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)'s “CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change".

The Chairman of the Virgin Group welcomes PATA's initiative to address the issue of global warming from the perspectives of both aviation and tourism.

"Global warming is the biggest challenge facing mankind today and we must all do everything possible to reach a consensus on how to meet it," said Sir Branson. “PATA's CEO Challenge comes at a very timely moment."

Hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and organised in partnership with the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) and the Burba Hotel Network (BHN), PATA's “CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change" will take place in Bangkok on April 29-30, 2008.

At the event, PATA will challenge influential travel and tourism industry leaders from all sectors to agree to and sign a defining industry response to climate change, one of the greatest global threats to travel and tourism.

"There is no doubt that global warming is one of the most important issues of our time," said Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive Mr Tony Tyler.

"There is equally little doubt that the aviation industry must take a lead in confronting the challenges of climate change," he added. “Sadly, extreme and completely misleading views about aviation's impact on global warming have taken root, especially in Europe.

"PATA's initiative provides an opportunity for the Asian region to make a more constructive and pragmatic contribution to the debate. And we as an airline are willing to take part in the debate by committing to actions that seriously address climate change."

American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Mr Joseph McInerney said that it is vital that all sectors join forces to share ideas to address the crucial challenge that climate change presents to the planet.

"I applaud PATA for facing this challenge head on, and welcome the opportunity to work with hospitality leaders to seek answers to these critical questions," he said. “As one of the largest service industries in the world, and one of the largest employers, we owe it to our customers and to future generations to come together and look for solutions to mitigate some of the damage that has already been done to the environment."

Jones Lang LaSalle Asia Pacific CEO and JLL Hotels Chairman Mr Peter A Barge said that leaders would need to have very good reasons not to attend.

"Our staff, our clients the communities we operate in and more recently shareholder groups, all are demanding action on climate change," he said. “When all your stakeholders are sending clear messages, we as CEOs had better be on board."

The “PATA CEO Challenge" is a new annual event which PATA organises in lieu of the previous PATA Annual Conference. For the full release and testimonials, and to register your interest, please go to


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

BHN brings together more than two decades of experience in developing and organizing the world's most prominent gatherings of the hotel and tourism investment community, including the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles, the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, the Bolsa Mexicana de Inversión Turistica (BMIT) in Mexico City, the annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) and the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Hong Kong. The BHN website is the gateway for information about the conferences BHN produces, as well as a direct link to important players in the hospitality investment world.

Founded in 1990, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation is the region's leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence, analysis and data services. The Centre also convenes highly acclaimed international aviation strategy summits. Understanding aviation markets is our great strength. We aim to present our clients and business partners with an unrivalled depth of expertise delivered by skilled and experienced professionals.

Note to editors:
A high resolution CEO Challenge logo is available. Email:

For more information contact:
PATA Corporate Communications
Ms Min Min Wong
Tel: +66 (0)2 658-2000 extension 107

PATA Marketing Communications
Mr David Gillbanks
Tel: +66 (0)2 658-2000 extension 108

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