Sir Richard Branson is the latest influential personality to endorse the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)'s "CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change".
The Chairman of the Virgin Group welcomes PATA's initiative to address the issue of global warming from the perspectives of both aviation and tourism.
"Global warming is the biggest challenge facing mankind today and we must all do everything possible to reach a consensus on how to meet it," said Sir Branson. "PATA's CEO Challenge comes at a very timely moment."
Hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and organised in partnership with the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) and the Burba Hotel Network (BHN), PATA's "CEO Challenge 2008: Confronting Climate Change" will take place in Bangkok on April 29-30, 2008.
At the event, PATA will challenge influential travel and tourism industry leaders from all sectors to agree to and sign a defining industry response to climate change, one of the greatest global threats to travel and tourism.
"There is no doubt that global warming is one of the most important issues of our time," said Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive Mr Tony Tyler.
"There is equally little doubt that the aviation industry must take a lead in confronting the challenges of climate change," he added. "Sadly, extreme and completely misleading views about aviation's impact on global warming have taken root, especially in Europe.
"PATA's initiative provides an opportunity for the Asian region to make a more constructive and pragmatic contribution to the debate. And we as an airline are willing to take part in the debate by committing to actions that seriously address climate change."
American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Mr Joseph McInerney said that it is vital that all sectors join forces to share ideas to address the crucial challenge that climate change presents to the planet.
"I applaud PATA for facing this challenge head on, and welcome the opportunity to work with hospitality leaders to seek answers to these critical questions," he said. "As one of the largest service industries in the world, and one of the largest employers, we owe it to our customers and to future generations to come together and look for solutions to mitigate some of the damage that has already been done to the environment."
Jones Lang LaSalle Asia Pacific CEO and JLL Hotels Chairman Mr Peter A Barge said that leaders would need to have very good reasons not to attend.
"Our staff, our clients the communities we operate in and more recently shareholder groups, all are demanding action on climate change," he said. "When all your stakeholders are sending clear messages, we as CEOs had better be on board."
The "PATA CEO Challenge" is a new annual event which PATA organises in lieu of the previous PATA Annual Conference. For the full release and testimonials, and to register your interest, please go to www.PATA.org/ceochallenge.