Hartman, Lerch head list of experts to address TAX

11 May 2001

One of Asia's leading hoteliers and top travel agency chiefs from around the world will gather in Singapore from October 2-3 to make their mark at Travel Agents Exchange, 2001, Asia/Pacific's first training and trading platform for travel agents.

Richard Hartman, managing director of Bass Hotels & Resorts Asia/Pacific will head up the list of speakers which include travel personalities such as Hans Lerch, president and chief executive officer of the Kuoni group, and Richard Bangs, founder partner of Mountain Travel Sobek Expeditions.

Hartman, a veteran in the Asian business environment, will share his thoughts on how the agency community has to transform itself and draw parallels with the hotel industry which too has had to face up to intense changes and competition.

Lerch and Bangs will share the secrets of their successes and reveal lessons that will help agents in Asia navigate their way through an intensely competitive and dynamic marketplace.

A list of leading travel experts have also confirmed their place in the TAX 2001 conference programme which aims to lift the bar for travel agents in the region by giving them insights into the new skills and perspectives needed to thrive in the new economy.

The programme also includes training workshops which will give agents hands-on learning in training tracks such as agency management, corporate travel, technology solutions and frontline skills.

TAX 2001 is a joint initiative between the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) and TravelWeekly East, the leading travel agency management newspaper in Asia.

Singapore Tourism Board's chief executive Yeo Khee Leng said, "I am happy to hear that NATAS and TravelWeekly East are collaborating on the first Travel Agents Exchange 2001. This trade event will enhance networking among industry members and expose travel agents based in Singapore to new ideas and the latest trends around the world.

"Industry-driven initiatives such as this are important as it signals the desire within the industry for continual improvement and upgrading.

"The Singapore Tourism Board is also keen to share our thoughts on our Singapore Specialist Programme with the industry. This programme, launched earlier this year, is designed to equip the frontliners in travel agencies with the fundamentals of Singapore as a tourist destination.

"At the same time, I am sure we will glean useful and innovative ideas on improving our distribution channels from this trade conference."

"For the first time, agency owners and managers in Asia/Pacific will have the opportunity to send their frontline, middle and senior-level staff for training," said Fiona Rankine, publishing director, TravelWeekly East.

"An intensive training session is being put together by our editorial team to ensure a learning experience for travel agents hungry to learn new skills to stay competitive, and relevant in a fast changing marketplace."

The workshops will focus on skills and issues such as how to implement service fees, how to increase market share in niche businesses, effective sales and marketing techniques, customer relationship management, human resource and technology solutions.

TAX 2001, to be held in the Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, will offer a concurrent "interactive showcase" allowing travel suppliers to trade with agents as well as conduct on-site clinics to arm agency staff with the know-how to improve profits.

Registration fees start at S$200.
Contact: • Jason Ng, NATAS, Tel: 65-534 0187, e-mail: jason.ng@natas.com.sg
• Vera Lye, RTMA, Tel: 65-434 3502, e-mail: vera.lye@reedelsevier.com.sg

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