WTO says tsunami recovery needs publicity

PHUKET: A World Tourism Organization (WTO) report has concluded that complete post-tsunami recovery will not be possible until hotel capacity on Thailand’s Andaman coast, in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and seat capacity on flights to these regions, return to pre-disaster levels.

The report noted that Phuket’s latest official statistics show arrivals on the island down by 50% in August, although beach resorts announced high occupancy rates and bookings of 80-90% for December and January. It also said that on Koh Phi Phi Don, where 2,000 rooms were available before the tsunami, there are now only 400 rooms available, and that fewer than 500 of Khao Lak’s 6,000 rooms have been reopened.

The WTO urged journalists to report on the “refurbished hotels, new tourism products and safety improvements”. It also asked that the media “use restraint when showing pictures of last year’s disaster, so that tourists will not be scared off for a second time”.

The WTO report forms part of the Phuket Action Plan for the revival of tourism to tsunami-affected countries, developed at a special WTO Executive Council session held in Phuket at the end of January.

Phuket News
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