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ATEC remembers tourism innovator James Kwan

ATEC remembers tourism innovator James Kwan
March 2, 2020

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has informed members and industry stakeholders of the death of James Kwan early yesterday morning (1st March 2020) as a result of his health deteriorated rapidly due to the Coronavirus (covid-19 virus).

Kwan had been a passenger, along with his wife and family on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that had been moored in Japan over recent weeks.

Kwan was a founding member of the Western Australian Tour Operators Association (WAITO), which later merged into the Inbound Tourism Operators Association, subsequently renamed as ATEC.

Kwan served on the ATEC National Board from 2001 to 2005 and was also a founding member of the ATEC’s Asian Tourism Advisory Panel (now Market Advisory Panel).

ATEC remembers Kwan as being “a true pioneer of Asian inbound tourism to Australia, after founding Wel-Travel in 1988, paving the way in developing important inbound tourism markets including Malaysia, Singapore, China and India and Indonesia. The Kwan family made a significant contribution to WA's economy before expanding their inbound travel business nationally.”

Prior to founding Wel-Travel in 1988, Kwan was the Singapore based director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association (HKTA) where he was instrumental in establishing the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) Trade Fair in Singapore which continues to be a success 30 years on.

ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley reflects on Kwan being “a measured and pragmatic man and was held in high regard by the inbound industry – particularly in his beloved home state of Western Australia.

“James was always willing to share his knowledge and help others in the industry grow, often mentored young and aspiring members of the tourism industry.

“He was the life of many industry functions, very entertaining with his sense of humour and we will all miss his wry jokes and quick wit.

Shelley adds “we know there are many current and previous members of ATEC who will share in our gratitude to James for his vision and passion for our industry.

“We understand that James’ wife Theresa remains in hospital in Perth and we are thinking of her at this difficult time.  We send our heartfelt condolences to Theresa, Edwin and the extended Kwan family.”

Images of James Kwan courtesy of ATEC.

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