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Ho and Mechai to Keynote PATA Annual Conference in Pattaya

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 18 January 2006

Leading lifestyle business entrepreneur Mr Ho Kwon Ping is to deliver the opening keynote speech entitled,"Changing Lifestyles -- New Opportunities" at the PATA Annual Conference (PAC06) in Pattaya, Thailand, on April 24. Closing PAC06 on April 26 will be Dr Mechai Viravaidya, a renowned politician and activist who popularised condom use in Thailand.

Banyan Tree Group Executive Chairman Mr Ho said, "The first decade of this new century will see more lifestyle changes than in the past 50 years, and opportunities for the travel industry are only limited by our imagination and creativity."

Mr Ho, named one of Business Weeks "25 Stars of Asia" in 2005, as well as one of the"100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum, is also Chairman of the family-owned Wah Chang Group.

In addition to his commitments with Banyan Tree and Wah Chang, Mr Ho is Chairman of the Singapore Management University; Chairman of Singapore television and radio company MediaCorp; Board member of Singapore Airlines; and Board member of Standard Chartered Bank.

Dr Mechai Viravaidya the founder of a restaurant chain, Cabbages and Condoms, where condoms rather than mints are served after meals, said the travel industry was in a unique position to eradicate poverty. "If every hotel were to foster one village by purchasing from them, or providing skills-based training, then it would be the conduit for the village to develop a more sustainable livelihood, gain business skills and move out of poverty," said Dr Mechai.

Dr Mechai, who has been affectionately known as "Mr Condom" since the 1970s, was elected to the Thai Senate in 1987, 1997 and 2000. He was chief architect for a national HIV/AIDS prevention policy and programme, which reduced the rate of new infections in Thailand by 90%, and for which he was appointed Ambassador for UNAIDS in 1999.

He has also been pivotal in Thailands successful family planning programme, which saw the rate of annual population growth decline from more than 3% in 1974 to 0.8% in 2002. He has received numerous awards, including the 1997 United Nations Population Award and the 1981 United Nations Gold Peace Medal.

Dr Mechai, through the Population and Community Development Association, continues his active advocacy of family planning, poverty reduction, rural development, environmental restoration and HIV/AIDS prevention throughout Thailand.

PAC06 will take place inPattaya, Thailand, April 23-27, 2006.

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