Planning for an Annual Meeting typically begins more than a year and a half before the conference with the appointment of two co-chairs. Joseph Ferretti, PepsiCo, Inc./Frito-Lay, Inc. and Purvi Patel, Haynes and Boone, LLP, both Dallas locals, have been selected to chair the Annual Meeting 2013. Ferretti and Patel are working with their Project Team to create an exciting and informative program for attendees and are striving to make the meeting even more special than usual, as it will be the last one for INTA Executive Director Alan Drewsen. The Project Team was put together last year and consists of 38 other dedicated volunteers who are responsible for various aspects of the programming.
The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area is home to over one-fourth of all Texans as well as Fortune 500 companies such as Yum! Brands, Inc. and AT&T. After a full day of exciting programming and meetings, history buffs can visit the Dallas Heritage Village for a view of life in 19th century Dallas, foodies can explore all of the best Texas-style barbeque, steak houses and hot restaurants in Dallas and shoppers can enjoy an afternoon in the Bishop Arts District or at the Neiman Marcus flagship store.
The 2014 Annual Meeting will be INTA's first in Asia, and the Association is particularly excited to be in Hong Kong, one of the world's freest economies with a competitive finance and business center and a large exporter of branded goods and services. David Stone, chair of the Programs Committee and co-chair of the Annual Meeting in Hong Kong, describes the venue as "incredibly exciting," explaining that the city is sophisticated and vibrant. "It will be different and it will be fun," he told the INTA Daily News. "The timing is just about perfect."
Stone and his co-chair Xuemin Chen, Zhongzi Law Office, are already knee-deep in planning. Stone says that at this stage the plan is to focus the programming in the mornings and cater to the expected increase in attendance from Asia and the Middle East. One idea that is being thought through is to offer some session in local languages. "That's been tried before with Table Topics, but we'd like to kick it up a level," says Stone.
The Annual Meeting will be held at the centrally located Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai North, with all of the main hotels close by. Hong Kong as a venue may be unfamiliar to many regular Annual Meeting attendees, but it should prove welcoming to INTA. It is a fast-paced city that balances a modernized way of life with traditional Chinese practices. Under British colonial rule for 156 years, the city grew from a small fishing village to a global financial center and now has a population of over 7 million.
Sightseers can head up to Victoria Peak for beautiful views of the city, or take a ferry to Lantau Island and Tian Tan Buddha. Food lovers will have no shortage of options, from high-end international restaurants in Soho and Gough Street, to amazing local cuisine in Mong Kok. Those who want to see a different side of Hong Kong can take a short ferry ride to Cheung Chau Island, one of several fishing villages surrounding the main island.
It's not too early to start making your plans now for Dallas and Hong Kong!
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