Americans will return to Asia next year: ASTA chief

19 August 2003

HONG KONG - American travellers will be ready to return to South-east Asia next year, Richard Copland, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has told TravelWeekly.

Copland, who was in Hong Kong for the Welcome Day celebrations last week, said, "A lot of challenges remain but we are confident that American travel to this region will be back next year.

"If properly marketed and developed, they will return to Asia. Americans will never give up the right and freedom to travel."

Next year is also the year that ASTA is meeting in Hong Kong and Copland is confident he will be able to attract at least 4,000 delegates to the city for the October 1-5 event.

"There are certain destinations in the world where you say, "I will be back". Hong Kong is such a destination, it is one of the world's great cities."

Added Copland, "It is a proven fact that ASTA conferences have greatly helped travel and tourism in a destination. It has been shown that we can help business grow by 20 percent."

In November 2001, ASTA moved its annual congress from Seville to "the one place we knew we should be - New York City", said Copland.

In 2002, it met in Hawaii and this year, it will convene in Miami.

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