Based on its assessment of tourism infrastructure in tsunami-affected areas, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) wishes to emphasise that most properties and attractions in Indian Ocean destinations have sustained little or no damage.Of PATA’s 45 Asia Pacific member countries, the coastal area of only eight were affected by the tsunami. Of those eight destinations, only the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand suffered significant travel sector losses.
PATA believes that to support the speedy recovery of destinations, local employment and local self-sufficiency, consumers must be encouraged to proceed with their travel plans to the region. PATA President and CEO, Mr Peter de Jong, said, ‘‘The human loss of this tragedy is unprecedented. However, the negative impact will only be exacerbated if tourists cancel or postpone their visits. Now more than ever, Indian Ocean countries want you to come visit. Not only will tourism maintain jobs and boost local economies, it will also be a sign of support and solidarity, giving new hope and confidence to those who have begun to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.’‘
Mr de Jong added, ‘‘If you have not yet planned a visit, please consider booking a trip. If you wish to make a difference, visit the many safe and intact parts of the affected destinations. The money you spend and, importantly, the hearts you touch, will make a difference.’‘
PATA says the following key messages are important:
tourists are welcome and needed
if you really care about our destination—come visit us
tourists’ enjoyment of a destination will be tangible support for its recovery
you are assured of a very warm welcome
Parts of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia have experienced minimal damage to their travel and tourism infrastructure. Parts of the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand have incurred damage to some tourism infrastructure, but the damage is local and rapidly being fixed.
All airports in tourism-related areas in the tsunami-affected countries are operating normally.
PATA encourages all travel professionals, travel agents, tour operators and media to clearly communicate the facts to potential travellers and encourage bookings.
Of the island nation’s 87 resorts, 64 are currently operational. Many of those that have been damaged are expected to be operational within a matter of weeks or months. Only a handful of resorts have sustained considerable damage. For specific details on affected resorts, please refer to: www.visitmaldives.com.mv/mu/latest/update_situation_assessment.php.
Of Sri Lanka’s total hotel supply of 244 properties, 183 remain fully operational. The hardest hit districts of Sri Lanka include: Ampara, Hambantota, Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Trincomalee. A detailed listing of the condition of hotel properties and their respective conditions is available at: http://www.contactsrilanka.org/list_oftourists.htm.
The damage to Thailand’s tourism industry is exclusively confined to the southern provinces adjoining the Andaman Sea: Phuket, Phangnga, Krabi, Ranong, Satun and Trang. Within these provinces the impact was varied and highly localised. Many places are operating normally. The remainder of Thailand’s tourism destinations were untouched by the tsunami and remain fully operational. The majority of tourism infrastructure in Phuket remains intact with only 10 percent of total rooms inventory impacted. The following recommended update by the Tourism Authority of Thailand provides specific details on which hotels remain operable and which have sustained minor or major damage. http://www.sawadee.com/tsunami/hotels.htm.