U.N.: Tsunami Worst Catastrophe for Tourism

Taken from here.

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BANDA ACEH, Indonesia    The top U.N. tourism official called Asia’s tsunami the worst-ever catastrophe for the world’s tourism industry, and Indonesia announced Tuesday that it found the bodies of 1,000 additional victims   more than five weeks after the disaster.

U.N. World Tourism Organization chief Francesco Frangialli told delegates attending a special tourism conference in Thailand that the disaster "was the greatest catastrophe ever recorded in the history of world tourism" because of the high number of tourists and industry workers who died outranking even the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

However, he said he was optimistic that it would do no permanent damage to "Asian tourism, which is in full expansion," as industry delegates met to draft emergency plans to lure tourists back to the region’s beaches.

In terms of tourist arrivals, the disaster "will deal nothing but a glancing blow to world tourism," he said.


The death toll Tuesday ranged from about 157,000 to 178,000 across 11 nations hit by the disaster, with the range reflecting differing figures by separate agencies in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Together with estimates of up to 142,000 missing in the region — more than a quarter-million people may have been lost.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Relief Coordinating Board announced Tuesday that workers found 1,059 more bodies on Monday in Aceh, bringing the country’s toll to 109,297. Another Indonesian agency has a higher toll, of 123,198.

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Whereas the news reports I’ve been reading have been, for the most part, lumping in the missing with the confirmed dead.

I think tourism in these countries will suffer a lot more than what this news report indicates. Tourism in Sri Lanka is nearly dead at the moment. Granted, it’s barely a month since the tsunami hit, but most coastal hotels, even the very nice ones aimed at upper class foreigners, are nearly empty. They’re suffering.

Author: LMAshton

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