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Information is the Key in Tsunami Recovery, Report Says

The majority of travelers planning to visit Asia said that they would like more information about the affected
areas, mainly relating to health and sanitation, followed by progress on
the clean-up and the impact the tsunami has had on infrastructure and
tourist facilities.These are some of the findings from the Post-Tsunami Global Travel
Intentions Research conducted by Visa Asia Pacific for the World Tourism
Organization (WTO) Emergency Task Force that was specially convened in
January to assist the tourism industries of countries ravaged by the
tsunami. The main findings were released today at the Task Force’s second
meeting at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin.

According to Visa Asia Pacific Executive Vice President, Southeast Asia,
James Murray, “Since the tsunami disaster, there has been a significant drop
in international travel to affected tourist destinations such as Phuket in
Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, severely damaging the livelihood of
many local communities dependent on tourism revenues. This has happened in
spite of the significant success the various countries have had in
restoring facilities and infrastructure.

Given the scale of the tsunami and the extensive media coverage of its
aftermath,international travelers are understandably concerned about the
state of destinations in Asia. Tourism industries and authorities across
South and Southeast Asia are therefore faced not only with the task of
reconstruction, but also the formidable challenge of enhancing tourist
confidence around the world regarding the affected destinations.

Visa conducted the Post-Tsunami Global Travel Intentions Research for the
WTO Emergency Task Force, as we feel the urgent need for better
understanding of travel intentions to Asia among travelers from key
markets, and of the barriers that may be keeping them away.

Equipped with this information, we hope that national tourism
organizations, policy makers, tourism operators and merchants in the
tsunami-affected countries will be better able to address the most salient
issues and concerns among global travelers, restore tourist confidence and
stimulate travel back to their countries more effectively,” added Murray.


For WTO Secretary General, Mr Frangialli, “this report contains essential
information about consumers’ perceptions in the main generating markets
regarding the affected areas and will constitute a valuable contribution to
the design and implementation of communication and marketing recovery
Tsunami’s impact on travel to Asia varies by source market According to the
research findings, among travelers who are planning to visit Asia, a
majority of 65 percent said the tsunami had no impact on their travel plans
to the region as a whole. 52 percent also felt the tsunami had not impacted
their travel plans