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Czech Republic`s Prime Minister and the US Ambassador addressed American Tourism Society Conference in CR

H.E. Jiri Paroubek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and a former Minister of Tourism, welcomed…

H.E. Jiri Paroubek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and a former Minister of Tourism, welcomed American Tourism Society(ATS) delegates to Prague at the opening of the organization’s fall conference which took place in Prague November 17-19, 2005 at the Corinthia Towers Hotel. H. E. William Cabaniss, the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, also addressed more than 160 attendees representing major players from a cross-section of the travel industry both from the US and from ATS member country regions.

Michael Stolowitzky, ATS President and CEO, said “the very presence of both the Prime Minister and the US Ambassador, is a clear recognition of the tremendous economic impact this group has on the international travel industry market. ATS, through its members, moves three million passengers a year with a volume of four billion US dollars.”

The Prime Minister’s speech was followed by opening remarks from Alex Harris, CTC, ATS Chairman and Chairman, General Tours, read in his absence by Michael Stolowitzky. On Friday, the General Session, chaired by Helena Novak, Sr, Vice President, General Tours and Vice Chairman, Central and Eastern Europe Conference, featured remarks by Vaclav Novotny, Director Prague Information Service; Rostislav Vondruska, President, Czech Tourism Board and Katerina Pavlilova, Director, Czech Tourist Authority North America.

Geoff Andrew, Group Director, Sales & Marketing, Corinthia Hotels International, in his welcome told delegates that “Corinthia joined ATS as soon as we launched our campaign into the American Market, and we were very proud that ATS was the first American-based travel industry organization to book its conference in a Corinthia Premier Collection Hotel. We look forward to the opportunity of hosting future ATS meetings in other destinations where we have CHI Premier Collection properties — Malta, St. Petersburg, Russia, Budapest, Hungary and Tripoli, Libya,” said Andrew.

ATS support of Jordan

H.E. Akel Biltaji, a newly appointed member of the Jordanian Senate as well as Special Envoy of King Abdullah II, and Vice Chairman, ATS Mediterranean Red Sea Council, gave a spell-binding, first-hand account of the recent terrorist bombings of the three hotels in Amman, Jordan. ATS held its spring meeting in Amman earlier this year where delegates were hosted by H.M. King Abdullah II at the Palace. Following Biltaji’s remarks, Stolowitzky stated “ATS, whose motto is Bringing the World Together, will continue its strong support for Jordan, making it clear that we will not let terrorism undermine tourism to that country or the rest of the world.”

Other Conference Highlights

The two-day conference opened with a travel mart of Czech and ATS member suppliers from the Baltics and Central and Eastern Europe showcasing the regions’ tourism attractions. This was followed by a specially created seminar for Czech and Central and Eastern European participants by David Parry, Academic Travel Abroad and Michael Wargo, Travelocity. The seminar, focusing on “How to Develop Special Interest and Cultural Travel and the Role of the Internet in Promoting It,” was extremely well received as a practical and useful presentation.

ATS program speakers featured a cross-section of travel industry leaders including, Robert Whitley, President USTOA, Marak H. Luba, VP and general Manager, Global Network Services, Central Europe, American Express; Mike SpinelliAlexandra Octkayova, Managing Director Slovak Tourist Board; Milos Kovacs, Deputy Director Hungary Tourism Board ; Leszek Mokrzycki, Director of Polish International Markets.

Renee Mitchell, Director, Consumer Research, Smithsonian Magazine presented the results of a specially designed research on gauging “US consumer interest in Central and Eastern Europe as a destination,” commissioned by ATS for this conference. Mitchell also moderated a panel which included Phil Otterson, Executive Vice President, Tauck World Discovery Tours, Mirko Ilich, President Traveling Times Inc, Katerina Pavlilova, Director, Czech Tourist Authority North America and Janet Algers, American Express Travel. Smithsonian hosted a luncheon that followed the morning sessions.

New web site previewed

ATS, in the process of redesigning and reengineering its web site, gave delegates a preview of a new web site scheduled to be launched early 2006. The new high tech web site will be highly interactive and feature maps of the ATS regions and hyperlinks to member country and suppliers.

Social Highlights

American Express, represented by Donna Flora, CTC, Vice President, Travel Industry Relations, hosted a festive dinner for all ATS delegates at the closing of the conference at Prague’s Historic Municipal House. Czech Tourism took all the International delegates on a Prague City Tour and organized a two-day post-conference ATS tour to Kutna Hora, Litomysl, Olomouc and Brno, featuring some of the Czech Republic’s World Heritage Sites.

Don Reynolds, ATS Executive Vice President, said “a large part of the success of the ATS meeting in Prague was due to the wonderful cooperation and support of Czech Tourism, Czech Airlines, The Corinthia Towers Hotel and General Tours, who handled the airport meet & greet services, transfers and Prague City Tour.” He continued, “the overwhelmingly positive feedback that we received from the ATS delegates to Prague demonstrates that the organization is growing from strength to strength. The meeting format provides delegates, many of whom are executives short on time, a succinct but comprehensive coverage of the four ATS regions with timely and up-to-the-minute critical marketing news and information.”

ATS invited to hold Spring Meeting in Israel, May, 2006

Yehuda Shen, from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in Jerusalem, personally extended an invitation to all ATS delegates to come to Israel for their Spring Conference scheduled for May, 2006. Rafi Baeri, of the Dan Hotels, confirmed that the Dan Hotel Tel Aviv will be the headquarter hotel.

Alex Harris and Michael Stolowitzky head newly elected ATS Board of Directors

At a meeting prior to the official opening of the ATS Conference, the newly elected Board of Directors elected the new officers who will serve for a two year term: Chairman, Alex Harris, Chairman, General Tours; President & CEO, Michael Stolowitzky, Consultant, American Express Vacations; Jan Rudomina, Vice President/Secretary/Treasurer, Jan Rudomina, Director, Polish Tourist Board new York; Vice President, Phil Otterson, Executive Vice President Tauck World Discovery Tours; and Executive Vice President, Don Reynolds. Other Board Members include: H.E. Akel Biltaji, Senator and Special Envoy of King Abdullah II, Jordan, and Vice Chairman, ATS Mediterranean Red Sea Council; Mirko Ilich, President, Traveling Times, Inc.; Robert Whitley, President, USTOA; Mike Spinelli, Past President, ASTA; and David Parry, President, Academic Travel Abroad.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.