Thursday, June 09, 2005

Conference Organizing

Every two years I help organize a tourism conference in China. My co-conspirators in China do most of the work. My role is to organize conference participants from outside of China. In the past we have had meeting in Guilin (2001) and at Three Gorges Dam/Yichang (2003) . This year (2005) the meeting will be in Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province on July 6-9. Xishuangbanna is a county-level district and the actual conference is in the city of Jinghong, which is on the Mekong River near the border of China, Mynmar and Laos.

More information on the conference can be found here:

Border Tourism and Community Development Conference

The purpose of this blog is to post some 'behind the scenes' comments and experiences realted to organizing and attending this conference.

This is my first blog. It was suggested by my daughter, who just started her own blog on an upcoming trip to Ghana:

Lauren in Ghana


Conference oranizing is pretty quiet right now -- I am just waiting for the next 'crisis' to emerge. To of the 45 international participants have had problems with their airline tickets. Neither was able to purchase the Chinese airline ticket that they wanted. Buying domestic Chinese airline tickets are easier to buy online now than just a few years ago when it was almost impossible. However, there are still challenges. I think that the problem in both of these cases was that the Chinese airlines did not release all of their seats to the international reservation system.

My colleagues in China are able to purchase the tickets. For one person they will be delivering the tickets to him in Beijing, so he can then catch the flight to Jinghong. This type of service costs about US$30. We had to do this for our last conference, as well. The other person is a little trickier because he changed his flight to a day that would preclude his participation in our post-conference Golden Triangle Field Trip, which he had already paid for. So they actually have to move his flight from one day to another. I am not sure if that will be doable or not.

What surprises me is how many people wait until the last minute (one month before the conference starts) to book their airline tickets. I got mine at the end of January! Even at that time I encountered a number of unexpected issues, such as the lack of flights between Bangkok and Jinghong on the days that I wanted to travel! So, I am expected more issues to arise as people cannot get the flights they want or need -- though I would be very happy if no other issues like that arise.

Meanwhile....IN FLAGSTAFF

We are getting a pretty good rain here in Flagstaff this evening. This is the first precipitation we have had since our record winter snowfall this past year ended a couple of months ago. This storm dumped snow on Interstate 80 over the Sierra Nevada's, and is probably turning Flagstaff's San Francisco Peaks white, as well.

I am listing to the new White Sripes CD (Get Behind Me Satan) on Rhapsody. I like it, which means my kids probably wont...


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