PATA IDENTIFIES MICRONESIAN REGION’S TOURISM POTENTIAL

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By Edith G. Alejandro

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (June 14, 2002 – Saipan Tribune)---The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) yesterday underscored the multi-faceted advantages of the Micronesian region as a travel destination.

At the same time, tourism industry leaders from across the Western Pacific region emphasized the need to develop a sustainable tourism industry that would help Micronesian destinations weather economic challenges that may arise in the future.

Participants in the two-day PATA conference -- held at the Pacific Islands Club -- identified approaches that would aid in the promotion of each island destination in Micronesia.

University of Guam Tourism Outreach Coordinator Christopher F. Bejado said that part of the recommendations is that PATA should provide a discourse and action that would prepare the region for future challenges.

Bejado said conference participants also cited the need to submit a comprehensive tourism plan that would stimulate regional travel industry growth.

The participants also cited the need to promote a cooperative marketing effort in various tourism markets, including the mainland United States, Australia, Germany and other European countries.

PATA members also suggested that, in implementing the proposals, the association should tap the assistance of hotel, airlines, and travel agents to effectively structure rates and prices.

"Micronesia is the next frontier. It is a multi-island destination, which is the travel trend today. We should promote it as unique islands with diverse cultures," Bejado said.

Conference participants also noted that Micronesia should be promoted beyond diving, suggesting that a familiarization tour for airline and travel agents be conducted.

"There is a need to reassess the marketing mission of the region to provide sustainable tourism practices and establish a cooperative and creative marketing effort," Bejado said.

The PATA meeting brought together some 15 representatives from across Micronesia.

Saipan, through the assistance of Marianas Visitors Authority acting managing director Vicky Benavente, hosted this quarter's general membership meeting.

"I am confident that we will continue to move forward in our cooperative efforts to accomplish the goals and objectives of the PATA chapter," said Benavente.

She also encouraged the participants to visit Tinian and Rota.

PATA Micronesia is a local community organization of travel industry professionals who join in a cooperative endeavor—within the framework of PATA— to develop travel and tourism to and within the Pacific-Asian area, focusing mainly on Micronesia.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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