UNWTO offers Japan support as nuclear crisis deepens
The UNWTO Regional Commission for Asia & the Pacific has expressed its full support for the people of Japan in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.
The announcement comes as Japan confirmed it would decommission four stricken reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.
Operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) made the announcement three weeks after failing to bring reactors 1 - 4 under control.
Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6 which were shut down safely.
More than 11,000 people are known to have been killed by the devastating March 11th earthquake.
Following the UNWTO annual meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, said that while the recent natural catastrophe in Japan would have a short-term impact on Japanese tourism, “the dynamism and resilience of the tourism sector in Asia will contribute to foster continued growth throughout the region”.
International tourism in Asia and the Pacific grew by more than 13 per cent in 2010, making it the first region to recover from the financial and economic crisis.
Against this backdrop, UNWTO expects international tourist arrivals to Asia to grow between seven and nine per cent in 2011.
An expanding economy is the primary driver of the tourism boom in both the business and the leisure segments in Asia and the potential for tourism demand is still strong.
“Destinations in the region are making significant efforts to tap this potential, putting targeted marketing strategies in place, such as the theme-year initiatives planned for 2011 in Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, Vietnam and others”, concluded Mr Rifai.