PATA conference opens in Japan

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NAGOYA, Japan -- The 48th Pacific Asia Travel Association Annual Conference opened April 18 at the Nagoya Congress Center here, drawing 1,018 delegates from 45 countries, according to PATA.

Attendees from Japan represent 28% of the total number of delegates at the three-day conference, which carries the theme Bridge to the New Future. U.S. delegates account for 14% of the total, the association said.

PATA chief executive officer Joseph McInerney announced that the association will combine its Chapters World Congress and Young Tourism Professional Forum events with its annual conference starting next year at the 49th PATA Annual Conference in Hong Kong.

The move to run the three events concurrently was undertaken in order to streamline operations, McInerney said, and will result in attendees at the various events partaking in the same social functions while their specific meetings are operated separately.

"It lays out all the resources at one time. Having the [conference] here and having the [congress] at Fukuoka, 600 miles away, makes it a logistical nightmare for everybody," said McInerney, who added that he arrived at the decision after receiving feedback from PATA members and focus groups.

"The good news is we're flexible," he said. "We'll see if it works, and if that is not what people like, we'll do something else."

In other PATA news, the organization approved an interim report to admit the Maldives as a member. Last year's conference, held in Manila, Philippines, drew 982 delegates, according to PATA. Next year's conference will be held in Hong Kong from April 30 to May 4.

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