Lifestyle business entrepreneur Mr Ho Kwon Ping will deliver the opening keynote speech entitled, “Changing Lifestyles—New Opportunities” at the PATA Annual Conference (PAC06) in Pattaya, Thailand, on April 24. Closing PAC06 on April 26 will be Dr Mechai Viravaidya, a renowned politician and activist who popularised condom use in Thailand.
Banyan Tree Group Executive Chairman Mr Ho said: “The first decade of this new century will see more lifestyle changes than in the past 50 years, and opportunities for the travel industry are only limited by our imagination and creativity.”
PATA President and CEO Mr Peter de Jong said: “The objective of the Conference is to explore the implications and opportunities arising from a heady mix of rapid economic growth, technological change, aviation liberalisation and rising lifestyle expectations across Asia Pacific. Both speakers are great authorities on social change.”
Mr Ho leads a company that owns and operates hotels, resorts, spas, residential homes, retail galleries and other lifestyle activities in Asia Pacific. He said: “The Conference theme captures so many of the big trends that are going to affect the global travel and tourism industry—from the post-retirement lifestyles of the baby boomers and the rise of an Asian middle class, to the impact of low-cost carriers and the Internet.”
Dr Mechai Viravaidya, Founder and Chairman of Bangkok-based Population and Community Development Association, said: “One great opportunity for the travel and tourism industry is to view business not just as a means of generating profit, but as a means to promote social progress.”
The founder of a restaurant chain, Cabbages and Condoms, where condoms rather than mints are served after meals, said the travel industry was in a unique position to eradicate poverty. “If every hotel were to foster one village by purchasing from them, or providing skills-based training, then it would be the conduit for the village to develop a more sustainable livelihood, gain business skills and move out of poverty,” said Dr Mechai.
PAC06 will take place in Pattaya, Thailand, April 23-27, 2006.