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Thu 11 Sep 2008 04:00 AM

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Orion Congress will tackle new frontiers

Virgin Galactic test pilot to highlight evolution of hospitality industry at key educational conference coming to Dubai.

Astronaut and test pilot of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipOne, Brian Binnie, will be the keynote speaker for the fifth Annual ORION Congress to be held at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai.

Binnie will deliver a 45-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session in a move that is intended to highlight the "new frontier of the hospitality industry", according to the regional manager ORION Hotel Schools, Adam Sargeant.

The one-day congress will focus on innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry and Sargeant said Binnie will bring home the reality of space tourism.

"The attractiveness of Binnie is he has left the planet and can talk about what it's like to look back at Earth.

"It makes it incredibly real. People are hearing a lot about it, but when you sit in a room and hear from the guy who went to 368,000ft and broke all records you realise space tourism is a reality," he said.

Sargeant hoped delegates attending Binnie's presentation would say "I want to look down on the world and this could be me".

Binnie, whose visit is sponsored by Australia-based Spectrum International Hospitality Services, will showcase his experiences alongside academics and senior industry officials at the congress.

Keynote speeches will be complemented by interactive panel discussions structured around the key topic with audience participation.

Confirmed speakers include managing director of Hyatt International South West Asia, Peter Fulton, who will look at innovations and branding from an operations perspective; regional director for Micros Fidelio, Chris Adams looking at technology trends; executive chairman for Select Hotels and Resorts International, Richard Rosebery looking at marketing perspectives; The Hospitality Doctor Max Hitchins; CEO of Alpha Tours, Ghassan Aridi and director of Spectrum International Karan Singh.

The event is open to tourism professionals, costing US $390 per person and students $200. Register online at www.whatsnextinhospitality.com.

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