'97 APTA Taiwan Conference Report

OH, WHAT A FEELING!: THE
ASIA PACIFIC TOURISM
ASSOCIAT10N
CONFERENCE, TAIPEI, TAIWAN,
R.0.C., 1997

By Christine Lim, Department of
Economics, University of Western
Australia
The third',annual conference of APTA was hosted by the Chinese Tourism Management Association. and was sup- ported by the Chinese Culture University In Taipei. Taiwan. Republic of China, from 15-19 August. 1997. "Cooperation Under Tourism . Trends, Development and Marketing" was the theme of the conference. About one hundred dele- gates participated in the conference. which attracted more than half of the delegates from seven overseas countries. namely Australia, Canada, Hong Kong. Korea. New Zealand. Thailand and USA. A conference with 200 delegates is not twice as difficult to organize as one with 100. Conversely, a conference with 100 delegates is not to'Ice as eas? as one with 200. " Early-bird conference registration of NT$3.100 for students. NT$6.500a for APTA members and NT $ 7,300 for non- members. was a bargain. even though the fees Increased by NT $ 500-600 after tile deadline. Credit card facilities were available for delegates wishing to use this method of payment. with a processing fee as an extra charge. Such facilities were very useful and convenient, parti- cularly for delegates from countries which 016 not handle Taiwanese currency. The registration fee included a blue conference bag with the APTA logo. conference proceedings, a pen and pencil set. a complimentary pen from China Airlines. all lunches, welcome cocktail party. conference dinner, farewell dinner. morning and afternoon teas, coffee served with biscuits and cakes and pre- and post-conference tours.

By 7:OOpm, most delegates were ready for the welcome cocktail party at the Grand Hotel. Although'the call of the wild'from non-performing seals was absent in this case (see Lim (1997) for further details) . the atmosphere was nonetheless cordial. with abundant quan- tities of delicious food and soft drinks being served. Welcoming speeches were like : "Welcome to the Conference and to Taipei. " The Opening Ceremony was quite an occasion. set off by a spectacular lion dance performance which lasted for 10 minutes (a sight which has rarel? been seen at other conferences! ). Dr. Lee Ming-huei. the Chairman of the Con- erence and the Chinese Tourism Management Association. officially dec:tired the Conference open. followed b)- speeches b)'Professor Sohn Hai-Si~k. Cha)roan of APTA : Jack H.Y..Niu.

Tourism Bureau. Ministry)'of Trans- portation and Communications. Republic of China ; and K.S. (Kaye) Chon, Professor and Director, Office of Research Programs, Conrad N. Milton College of Hotel and Restaurant Mana-cement, University of Houston ; Professor Jafar Jafari. Editor-in -Chief of the prestigious Annals of Tourism Rese- arch, gave the first keynote presentation. entitled "The Role of Refereed Journals in the Scientification of Tourism." The presentation covered five areas, namely the history or background of scientification of tourism, the processes or platforms tourism has gone through (that is, the efficacy, cautionary, adaptancy and knowledge-based platforms) , the catalyst of scientification of tourism, identifying the journals that have served as scien- tific catalyst, and an indepth discussion of the role played by the Annals of Tourism Research in the scientification of tourism.

The second keynote address was delivered by Professor Kaye Chon on "Value, Quality and Customer Satisfaction : Integrating the Industry Needs and Research Agenda for Year 2000 and Beyond." In a compe- titive environment. and one in which the tourism industry was developing on a massive scale due to mass tourism. an emphasis on product orientation at the right location was a necessary but not a sufficient condition for success in the hos- pitalit? industr!' Before long. as competition Increased. customers became more knowledgeable about the tourist product on offer and the hotel industry became more sophisticated in the product they were selling.

Realising the limits to differentiating the tangible product, the hotel industry set about differentiating at the service level. Competitiveness in the delivery of quality service. which is equip,alent to the "race for service" In the hospitality industry, is here to stay and the bottom line is "Does it make money?"

"Cooperation and Change in Asia Pacific Tourism" was the title of the third keynote address, presented by Joseph T.0'Leary. Professor of Forestay and Natural Resour- ces, Purdue University. Although there are enormo,As collections of data, very little analysis has been undertaken to con- vert them into information and to trans- late them into knowledge. Secondary analysis of survey information provides an opportunity to expand the information and ability to capture and apply knowledge bases in tourism. In addition to provi- ding education, training and encouraging critical thinking. universities. as knowle- dge repositories. are also In the position of creating information using existing data. The benefit of secondary analysis is one of the value-added concept. in that It contributes to research and infor- mation objectives. improves the Bevel of service to information clients. leads to effective business service pa?tnerships with the private sector. contributes

to overall government and departmental objectives of improved utilization, and so on. The open forums of two to three concu- rrent sessions consisted of working, research and student papers.4 total of fifty five contributed papers were presented in either a three or four paper sessions.

Presentation and question time for Bach paper varied between twenty to thirty minutes. Each session consisted of a mix- ture of analytical and descriptive papers, with many presentations using either overhead transparencies or slides. Micro- phones were frequently used by various speakers to project their voices. given that the seminar rooms were large and separa- ted only by wooden partitions. There were many interesting empirical studies presented, which included areas of reg- earch such as forecasting, expert systems, tourist destination assessment matrix, policy-related impact studies, and the applications of analyses such as input- output analysis, cointegration analysis. conjoint analysis, meta -analysis, entropy and multicriteria evaluation with quali - dative and quantitative data (MEQQD) methods, and spatial analysis.

Numerous papers in tourism education and tourism research papers by postgraduate students were also presented in the con- tributed sessions. After each session, delegates who presented their papers were awarded with certificates with their names written on them to acknowledge their participation at the conference.

Another first ! During the Closing Cere- mony. the Chairman of the Conference thanked the local organising committee and the student helpers for their tireless and enthusiastic contributions which had made the conference a success.

The farewell party that followed later in the evening. at the clubhouse of the Grand Hotel was a Mongolian BBQ. Choices of thinly-sliced meat, together with different types of sauces and vegetables, were available for the guests and delegates to combine. The evening of celebration continued after dinner, with the Chairman of the Conference offering to sing a song. followed by other volunteers who sang either as a group or individually. from Australia. Korea, USA and the host county.

Like the first two APTA conferences, the 1997 APTA Conference hosted by the Chinese Tourism Management Association in Taipei. Taiwan, was a great success. The latter has added many personal and innovative touches to organizing a con- ference, including sending letters of appreciation to all the delegates for their participation at the conference. It has been decided that the fourth annual conference in 1998 will be hosted by Kyonggj Univer- sity in Korea, to be followed by Prince of Songkla University, Phuket, Thailand in 1999, and the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong in 2000. After the over- whelming success of the 1997 conference. organizers of subsequent conferences are ence in Taiwan. It will be a very hard act to follow.

Acknowledgement
The author Is grateful for the helpful comments and suggestions of Michael