Tourism industry drafts revival plan

PICKING UP THE PIECES: A Thai boatman repairing his tour boat damaged by the Dec 26 tsunamion Kata beach in Phuket yesterday. — APpic

PHUKET: Tourism officials from around the world mulled ad campaigns and airline ticket giveaways in emergency talks yesterday to lure holiday-makers back to Asia's tsunami-ravaged coasts, saying the disaster was the worst-ever to hit the region's tourism. 

The killer waves have hit the region's tourism industry harder than the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and other recent disasters, said the UN World Tourism Organisation, which organised the conference. 

About 100 tourism officials and government ministers from nearly 40 countries were drawing up a marketing campaign to attract visitors to tsunami-damaged Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia. 

“Our aim is to ensure the tourism sector in these four countries emerges from this disaster stronger and more resilient than before,'' said a draft of the Phuket Action Plan, a joint statement to be adopted today.  

The plan calls for information campaigns about the safety of tourist sites, financial assistance for small tourism-related businesses and job training for workers left unemployed by the disaster. It also outlines ideas for an international marketing campaign. – AP  

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