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Vale James Kwan

ATEC managing director Peter Shelley pays tribute to industry 'pioneer'

It was with great sadness that we heard about the passing of James Kwan early Sunday morning after his health deteriorated rapidly due to the covid-19 virus.

James had been a passenger, along with his wife and family on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
 
James was 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, James 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.
 
James was also a founding member of the Western Australian Tour Operators Association (WAITO), which later merged into the Inbound Tourism Operators Association, which was subsequently renamed as ATEC.
 
He served on the ATEC National Board from 2001 – 2005 and was also a founding member of the ATEC’s Asian Tourism Advisory Panel (now Market Advisory Panel).
 
James was 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.
 
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.
 
Vale James Kwan.

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