'96 APTP'i2i3NFERENCE BY JCU STUDENTS

The Asian Pacific Tounism Associa- tion (APTA) was formed in 1995 and held Its inaugural conference in Pusan. Korea. Over 300 delegates attended from 13 Asian Pacific Countries. APTA Is an association of tourism and hospitality educators and researchers who have a major objective of facilita- ting an Information exchange among. educators and between business and academic fields In the Asia Pacific region.

Officialiy supported by the World Tourism Organisation(WTO), the the- me for last year conference was "Qual- iffy Research, Qualify Tourism" . Delega- tes from the 13 chapter countries rely- yed expression of interest to the depar- tment. The 1996 APTA conference was held at the Sheraton Breakwater Casino Hotel. from the 14th to th 18th of September. The Conference was hosted by the James Cook University Tourism Depar- tment, who have been recently desi- gnated by the World Tourism Organi- sation as the Tourism Education and Research center for the Asian and Southern Pacific regions. Students of the James Cook Univers- ity Tourism Department, undertook the conference management subject with the full Intentions of working hands on to stage the international conference for Tne APT.A Conference. held on Septe- mber 14th-l8th.

A committee consisting of a Chairpe- rson. and sub-committees representing sponsorship. registration. data base, newsletter, treasury, procee-dings/audio visual and hospitality were formed to ensure the smooth running of the conference. The role of each committee was to undertake assigned tasks and report back to the chairperson weekly on any advancements made. The weekly meetings were necessary to facilitate new Idea, to use formal procedures to make decisions. to document decisions and to assign action lists where needed. As a member of the sponsorship committee our initial role was to seek out bronze and minor sponsors, ensur- ing that these sponsors were adequa- tely rewarded through profile opportun- ities at the APTA Conference. As the organising of the conference progressed it soon became evident that our role was extended so as to raise funds for the students registration fees. The key to a successful convention involves a variety of elements, and the decision to go to a partjcualr destina- tion is usually based on a significant level of personal contact and common- icatlon between the meeting planner/ decision maker and the destination co- mmittee. The committee must ensure the transferral of relevant Information to the delegate as they would require reinforcement on the following issues : Image of the destination, conference facilities and timetable, safety of the location, transportation/access, hotel/ accommodation facilities, and entertain - mint facilities. It Is important to note that a point/person of contact must remain constant in order for continuity of information to flow. This is where improvements could be made on behalf of the committee. Due to the irregular hours of the departments students, co- ntact hours and person of contact could have appeared to be inconsistent thus creating a breakdown in the commu- nication channels. The image of the destination, con- ference facilities, timetable of confer- ence, safety of location and entertain- ment were delivered to the delegate with professionalism. It is fair to say that the registration of the delegates initally, posed some problems due to technical issues. These, however. were overcome without delay Transportation of the delegates from their accommo- dation caused some concern due to the lack of consistency with the timetable. Feedback from delegates upon their arrival, relayed that there were some discrepancies with the accommodation. Letters of thanks and letters of cons- tructive criticism have been distribu- ted to the establishments Involved. Over the past eight months an Immeasurable amount of knowledge has been gained on the development and implementation of an international con- ference such as the Asia Pacific Tourism Association Conference held in Townsville in September of this year. The committee we undertook to learn that there are many stakeholders In a conference of this size. including hotels/ accommodation outlets. the conference venue. airlines, local tourist operators. regional tourism associations, state tourist offices, media both locally. and nationally, professional exhibitors, soon - sorts. publishers. James Cook University Professional Bodies. Universities both nationally and inter-nationally. Each of these participants had a role In ensuring that the APTA 96 Conference was to be a success. As committee chief, 1 offer support and gratitude to the students who carried out their reponsibilities with a sense of true professionalism. Each committee united into one working team throughout the duration of the conference. From the audio visual team to the registration and hospitality team. there was a sense of pride in the conference being presented, this exper- ience presented new challenges. profile- rs. rewards and by learning from them. we as students will enter/return to the tourism industry'with a sense of accomplishment and a lot of working knowledge on conference management.