Onsite: PATA Travel Mart 2007 Winds Down

BALI-This year's PATA Gold Awards' Best of Show Grand Awards went to the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, for marketing; Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Thailand, in the environmental category; and the Macau Government Tourist Office for its heritage accomplishments.

Macau is taking a page from the Las Vegas playbook. The hot new gaming destination will attract MICE business during the week, when hotel occupancies dip. Travel Agent asked Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, deputy director, Macau Government Tourist Office, if Macau was also going to look to Las Vegas as an example of what not to do. "There are a lot of little mom-and-pop establishments in Macau," says Fernandes. "We don't want to see them disappear. We'll make efforts to help them profit from the influx of tourists." Measures are already in place to preserve historic buildings, and Fernandes notes that residents are taking matters into their own hands by seeking to preserve buildings that aren't necessarily on the protected list. The Macau Government Tourist Office also plans to promote the unique Chinese/Portuguese culture of Macau, and to raise awareness of activities and special events, such as the Macau International Fireworks Festival and Macau Grand Prix.

On the trade show floor, Hassan Kassim, manager tourism business, Western Indonesia-international operations, Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, filled us in on some of the background to this week's decision to allow hotel builds on Singapore's golf courses. "Occupancy is tight and there's a real need for rooms," says Kassim. "The hotels will all be low rise; there is currently a proposal on the table to build on the Orchid Country Club golf course." Kassim notes that the shortage of hotel rooms is due to Singapore's enormous popularity as a business destination. This week the World Bank declared Singapore the "easiest place to do business" for the second year in a row.


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