PATA to launch $2M consumer tourism promo

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NEW YORK -- The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in the fall will launch an estimated $2 million tourism promotion campaign designed to boost travel to the Asia-Pacific region from the U.S. and steer business to its travel agent and tour operator chapter members.

The campaign, dubbed "See You in Pacific Asia," is the organization's first consumer tourism push in more than 15 years, according to Bill Hastings, PATA's managing director for the Americas.

"The campaign theme represents a welcome to tourists who may not have chosen to travel to the Pacific-Asia region in the past," explained Hastings.

"The obvious purpose [of the campaign] is to build awareness of the region, but the campaign also will strive to knock down two of the area's biggest perceived barriers, that it's difficult to get there and that there's a language barrier."

Scheduled to break in September and run through October, the two-month campaign will include radio spots; newspaper and magazine advertising inserts, and a direct-mail program targeting high-income consumers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A number of the direct-mail brochures will be mailed to agents to hand out to their clients.

The campaign also will include a dedicated Web site that will provide a direct link to PATA's official Web site at www.pata.org.

Each component of the campaign will encourage consumers to contact a PATA travel agent member to book their trip. PATA has some 28 chapters in the U.S. and Canada mostly made up of retail agencies representing 9,000 travel agents.

According to Hastings, after a year-long delay, PATA is poised to unveil a travel agent specialist program for its members later this year. In conjunction with the advertising campaign, the specialist program "will build a complete circle whereby every PATA member, from the tour operator to the travel agent, will benefit." Hastings did not provide details of the agent specialist program.

Pending the success of the advertising campaign, possibilities for an expanded program include television commercials and the addition of other major feeder markets, including Washington, Dallas, Houston and Canada, Hastings said.

The campaign will be funded primarily by assessing PATA's 41 member countries a fee ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 based on the number of U.S. visitors they receive yearly. Participation in the campaign is voluntary.

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