Although regional tourism is facing an precedented å“double-whammyå” of war and disease outbreak, Don Birch (Pictured), President and CEO of ABACUS International
stated that the industry will recover quickly.
Mr. Birch delivered this message today at the unveiling of ABACUS’ new TravelSmart - Asia initiatives in Bali during the 2003 PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Annual Conference.
Mr Birch discussed immediate concerns of the travel industry including the War in Iraq and the recent SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, “Industry leaders are not going to let wars and other troubles derail and stifle business in the long term.”
He added, “We know from experience that in troubled times, Asians still travel but prefer to stay close to home. As long as the war in Iraq is short and SARS continues to be contained, I am confident that travel across the region will be return to stable levels again by the end of the year.”
SARS and the War in Iraq quickly made their presence felt in Asia. In the four major areas reporting SARS cases - Guangdong, Hanoi, Hong Kong and Singapore - there was a sharp drop in projected arrivals beginning the week of March 16.
“For the region as a whole beginning week 31st March, we saw a large number of cancellations which overwhelmed new activity that by itself is running 35 percent below last year,” Mr Birch said.
Mr. Birch also pointed to the quick recovery Bali has experienced since the October bombings, “Much of this was due to a concerted effort by the hotels and airlines that serve Bali to provide travellers with cost effective packages designed to jumpstart Bali’s tourism business. Once the tourism industry partners in Bali showed the world that safety and security precautions were in place and government advisories were removed, travellers returned.”
This power of information motivated ABACUS to unveil its latest TravelSmart - Asia efforts to ensure travellers are informed with regard to safe travel.
What started as an initiative to provide leadership in the recovery of regional tourism following the attacks of September 11, now includes a comprehensive website, www.travelsmartasia.com, that is a single information source for travellers to make informed decisions. The site also features daily travel warning updates along with regularly updated security tips and country reports.
In addition, the enhanced TravelSmart - Asia website features resources for corporate travel managers and travel agents.
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