Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, issued the following statement regarding the tragic mudslides that occured in Madeira, Portugal, over the weekend:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events that struck Madeira Island last Saturday, February 20, and have already expressed our full support, as well as our commitment to help in any way considered, to the government of Portugal and to the regional government of Madeira.
“The quick response action undertaken by the competent authorities at local and national levels, together with the support of the EU, have been instrumental in this catastrophe.
“As for the tourism sector, according to the information provided by the regional government, the hotel industry of Madeira was not affected and maintains all operating conditions safely. Hotel establishments, in general, are operational and there were not reported any difficulties or problems. The Madeira International Airport is also operational.
“I am confident that Madeira will continue to count on its solid tourism infrastructure and services, which have made it the destination of excellence it is today.”