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THAILAND TO HOST PATA ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2006

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Bangkok--Feb 5--TAT

Bangkok, Thailand, February 5, 2003 -- Thailand has won the bid to again host one of the region's most important travel events, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Conference, in 2006. The decision was announced after the PATA Board of Directors meeting in Bahrain between January 17-19, 2003.

In its bid to host the conference, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) offered the beach resort of Pattaya as the venue. The PATA Board agreed with this choice as part of its desire to promote more secondary destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.

The TAT's Deputy Governor for Marketing, Mr. Santichai Euachongprasit, who attended the PATA Board meeting in Bahrain, said he was most gratified by the decision.

"Thailand has hosted four PATA Annual Conferences since 1969, the last one in 1996 in Bangkok. That year, we also inaugurated the Mekong Tourism Forum in Pattaya," Mr Santichai said. "It will be good to have this prestigious event back in Thailand again."

The conference is attended by about 1,500 senior executives from Asia-Pacific national tourism organisations, airlines, hotels, tour companies, researchers, consultants and other travel related organisations. The main conference is accompanied by a number of committee and industry meetings to discuss specific industry subjects like sustainable tourism, marketing, research and human resources development.

TAT Governor, Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan commented, "The meeting will bolster Thailand's position as a premiere and value-for-money convention destination. It is very much in line with government policy to attract more convention delegates to Thailand."

She added, "The conference will give delegates an opportunity to update themselves with the many new developments that will have emerged by 2006 in Thailand and the entire Greater Mekong Sub- region."
The event is expected to generate 54.75 million baht in visitor expenditure.
Thailand has been a PATA member since 1959. The association, whose operational headquarters moved from San Francisco to Bangkok in 1998, has more than 2,200 members in 44 countries world-wide.

PATA President and CEO Peter de Jong said the association was very pleased with the decision. "Thailand is one of the region's most popular quality travel destinations," he said. "It is embarked upon a progamme of sustainable growth, especially for destinations like Pattaya which has worked hard to reposition itself on the global tourism scene."

"By 2006, we expect there will be a lot more positive developments in the region and PATA is proud to be helping to showcase them."

Thailand first hosted the 18th PATA conference in 1969, followed by the 31st conference in 1982, and the 45th conference in 1996. All were held in Bangkok, which will make the 2006 event the first time held outside the capital.

The conference will be held at the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (PEACH), a multipurpose facility that offers a unique combination of world-class service, renowned Thai hospitality, state-of-the-art facilities and dedicated team of convention-management specialists.

The main convention and exhibition hall occupies 4,854 square metres, and can accommodate up to 5,800 persons theatre-style or 2,100 for banquets. It has previously handled major events like Herbalife Asia Spectacular, the National Municipal League of Thailand, Second Congress of the Asia-Pacific Society of Hypertension, Thailand Travel Mart, and Asia Pacific Advertising Festival.

Contact
Foreign News Section, Public Relations Division
Tel: 66 2 250 5500 ext. 1565-9
Fax: 66 2 250 5682
E-mail: prdiv3@tat.or.th
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