Onsite: Report From PATA Travel Mart 2007

BALI-During PATA Travel Mart 2007's opening day at the Bali International Convention Centre in Nusa Dua, at a Garuda Indonesia press conference, the first of the show, Travel Agent asked Emirsyah Satar, president & CEO, Garuda Indonesia, if the carrier had any plans to increase its presence in the U.S. market. "At present we're focusing more on the European market," said Satar. "We are looking at future possibilities on the west coast in the U.S. - most likely Los Angeles or San Francisco, but we haven't set a date as yet." The carrier is also examining the possibility of joining one of the global alliances, but was similarly mum on details.

During lunch with Rainata Tjoa, director of marketing communications with the Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, we talked about a range of topics, including Bali's recovery from the 2002 and 2005 bombings. "We can see that there is recovery after the tragedy," said Tjoa. "When it comes to group business, companies don't want to send their employees someplace where they won't be safe. We're seeing a lot of group bookings - and not just from Indonesian companies."

In an afternoon press conference, Thamrin B. Bachri, director general, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Indonesia, outlined marketing plans for the coming year, which include road shows and fam trips. When Travel Agent asked if the U.S. was included in these plans, Bachri regretfully noted that the major efforts would be targeted at the six top markets for Indonesia: Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Korea and Taiwan. Bachri invited Travel Agent to consult with the ministry to develop a U.S. travel agent fam trip. Contact details for U.S. travel agents couldn't immediately be confirmed, so check this space tomorrow, when we'll hopefully have more details. Bachri did say that there would be possible Indonesia road shows coordinated with the upcoming Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami, March 10-13 2008; and the DEMA Show 2007 in Orlando, Oct. 31 - Nov. 3. Indonesia plans to participate in both events. Bachri noted that Indonesia's strongest markets in the U.S. are the dive and surfing markets.

The PATA Annual Statistical Report 2006 was launched at the mart. The report shows there were close to 356 million international trips to Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) member destinations in 2006, representing region-wide year-on-year growth of 5.3 percent over 2005. This has set a new year-to-date record for arrivals, which is on track to be broken once again in 2007. So far this year the region is showing an expansion of 7.1 percent increases over 2006.

Floor space for PATA Travel Mart 2007 is officially sold out, with more than 360 organizations from 38 countries buying booth space; 138 of these are first-time seller delegates. PATA has also registered 411 buyer delegates from 346 organizations in 51 countries.

It was also announced that PATA Travel Mart 2008 will be held in Hyderabad, India Sept. 16-17.