WTO report assesses tsunami recovery

Nearly one year later, countries affected by the December 26 tsunami – Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand – are optimistic that a strong winter season marked by high occupancy rates will finally put an end to the lingering crisis that has dragged down arrivals and tourism revenues over the past 11 months. But a WTO assessment of the post-tsunami recovery, which was presented to the recently concluded General Assembly in Dakar, Senegal, indicates that hotel room capacity and air seat capacity to Thailand's Andaman coast, Sri Lanka and the Maldives is still substantially lower than before the tragedy. It concludes that a full recovery will not be possible until capacity is fully restored sometime in 2006. The study is part of the Phuket Action Plan for the revival of tourism to the tsunami-affected countries, including Indonesia, which was created at the special emergency meeting of the WTO Executive Council in Phuket last January. It laid the groundwork for an unprecedented series of nearly 40 tourism recovery projects that included activities such as fam trips, market research, communications initiatives, seminars, safety reviews, planning assistance and the organisation of the TOURCOM Regional Conference on Tourism Communications in Bali last May. Recovery of tourist arrivals to beach resorts hit by the tsunami has been sluggish. The most recent official statistics show arrivals to Phuket still down by 50% in August, while October arrivals to the Maldives were still down by 23% and foreign guest nights along Sri Lanka's south coast down by 53%. But beach resorts in all three countries are reporting forward bookings between 80-90% for December and January. Diminished capacity is most evident in Thailand; on Phi Phi Island only 400 rooms are available, compared with 2,000 before the tsunami. And in hard-hit Khao Lak, fewer than 500 of the 6,000 rooms have been reopened. Indonesia presents a different recovery curve. As tourism facilities were not damaged in the tsunami that destroyed Banda Aceh, arrivals to Bali actually increased from March through September. Terrorist attacks on 1 October drove tourism down once again by an estimated 37% that month. But officials are hopeful that the recovery will be quicker than after the 2002 Bali bombings, due to stepped-up security and improved communications.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
The most exclusive meeting locations with MICE by Palladium

Whether business travel or incentive trips, travelling is a unique experience. Palladium Hotel Group offers the best locations and service to join business and pleasure.

Case study: The Wearable Technology Show 2019

Case study: The Wearable Technology Show 2019

This year's show was hosted over two days and featured keynotes from the BBC and Facebook.

Lack of diversity is a 'competitive disadvantage'

Lack of diversity is a 'competitive disadvantage'

Diverse events are more interesting, more engaging and lead to better connections, says Hannah Redfern from Leaders in Sport.

How events can save the world

Crisis planning, sustainability, wellbeing and inclusion can cause difficulties for event organisers. So is it possible to host a truly ethical event?

Wellbeing makes 'good business sense'

Wellbeing makes 'good business sense'

Annie Metcalfe from Clear Partners says planners must adapt to the changing demands of incentive travel programmes.

Amex GBT appoints new general manager for meetings and events

Amex GBT appoints new general manager for meetings and events

Gerardo Tejado has held a number of commercial and client management roles at American Express GBT over the past 17 years.

Incentives are coming: 7 Game of Thrones-inspired destinations

Incentives are coming: 7 Game of Thrones-inspired destinations

From Croatia to Northern Ireland, the fictional land of Westeros has filming locations around the world ideal for meetings and events.

What HR experts look for in workplace accreditation

What HR experts look for in workplace accreditation

An independent HR consultant explains what judges are looking for in accreditation like C&IT's Best Places to Work.

5 reasons to choose Malta...

With a warm, sunny climate, stunning backdrops, a rich history and culture, fine gastronomy and activities aplenty, Malta can cater to events of all types.

Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

UK companies increased their marketing spend in Q1 2019, in contrast to flatlining budgets at the end of last year.

LATEST JOBS