Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening ceremony of a major international conference on Sustainable Community Tourism Destination Management, to be held on 27-29 November at AIT.

The Princess' inauguration of the event and the support of many regional and international partners are an honour for the AIT-based Canadian Universities Consortium Urban Environmental Management Project (CUC UEM).

The November conference is the first of its kind to be organised with a specific focus on sustainable tourism and community destination management. It recognises that while urban areas play a major role in the high-growth travel and tourism industry, much needs to be done and indeed can be done to alleviate the environmental,social and cultural impact of having many hundreds of thousands of people passing through Asian cities at any given time. It also emphasises widespread recognition of the importance of tourism destination management in Thailand and the entire Greater Mekong Subregion, especially in urban areas.

The event is being organised by the CUC UEM Project in co-operation with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), World Tourism Organization (WTO), Urban Management Center (UMC), United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Says Walter Jamieson, CUC UEM Project Director, 'Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry. As popular destinations, Southeast Asian cities are seeing the direct effects and challenges of that growth.

This conference is designed to provide a forum for tourism and government officials to explore innovative approaches in order to meet the significant demands that tourism makes of urban areas.'

'This conference will seek to move from the rhetoric of sustainable development to practical and grounded solutions. We have designed this conference for maximum interaction between practitioners and academics of tourism from Southeast Asia and North America.'

The CUC UEM Project is based at the AIT, Bangkok. Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Project is involved in a range of activities focusing on clean production, environmental management systems, urban environmental impact assessment, transportation planning, and urban tourism destination management.

Conference topics have been divided into four theme areas: Tourism Destination Management and Planning Practices; Environmental and Cultural Heritage Management; Urban Environmental Management and the Travel Industry; and Environmental Management for Resorts and Hotels.

Speakers, presenters and other resource people are leading-edge practitioners and researchers from Southeast Asia, North America and Europe with many representing the CUC UEM's partner organisations.

Five all-day field trips to sites in and around Bangkok have been arranged to support the conference topics. The tours will take place on the second day of the conference and will relate to all four themes.

A detailed schedule for each theme as well as a full list of participating experts and resource people are available on our website:

A range of presentation styles - including panel discussions, presentations and plenary sessions - will be used to enable maximum interaction and participation.