David Peterkofsky, senior editor at Travel Weekly sister
publication TravelAge West, filed this report from the PATA
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- The Pacific Asia Travel Association
(PATA) opened its 50th annual conference, held here April 8 to 12,
with good news on the membership front.
PATA chief executive officer Joe McInerney said the trade
association has received 150 new applications for membership since
last July, and plans to recruit more members from new markets such
as airports and cruise lines.
McInerney also praised PATA's new chapter rewards initiative,
which provides a financial incentive for chapters that do some
For each chapter that recruits a new PATA member, 50% of that
member's dues stay with the chapter. Seven chapters have taken up
PATA on its offer so far, McInerney said, including U.S. chapters
in New York and Orange County, Calif.
In other news from the conference:In a speech to delegates, the Malaysian prime minister, Dr.
Mahathir bin Mohamad, called for governments and the media to
present fair and accurate traveler-safety information to the
He said that while countries should be entitled to issue
advisories to their citizens, these notices should be prepared "so
as to give consumers of tourism service accurate and reliable
information."PATA rehired its former director of marketing, Gerald Picolla,
to boost members' participation in the PATA Travel Mart, reported
Travel Weekly East, Travel Weekly's Asian affiliate.
"After four years of hosting the PATA Mart, we decided that PATA
needs to provide more support to the event," said McInerney.
Picolla was PATA's former director of chapter services and vice
president of marketing. It was in the latter capacity that he
started the Travel Mart in 1978 and was responsible for it until
1995. He started his own company, Picolla International, after
"I still haven't sat down and worked out the strategies yet,"
said Picolla. "After being away for five years, I need to sit down
and review the [Travel] Mart and the buyers and sellers."
"Basically, I see an opportunity to build and expand the Mart
and bring it back as a quality event," he added.PATA's task force program, which advises destinations on
marketing, heritage preservation and other issues, will send
representatives to Fiji and North Korea within the next few
PATA chronicles task force results in reports that members use
as case studies. Previous task forces have visited North Sulawesi,
Indonesia; Guam, and southern Thailand.Gloria Keller, an agent with HNL Travel Associates in Honolulu,
received a PATA Award of Merit for her service to the
Keller served as chairman of the 2001 conference program
committee and has served multiple terms on both the PATA Industry
Council and the group's board of directors.