Travel agencies and tour operators in Germany are calling for a large-scale marketing campaign in trade and consumer media to revive travel to holiday destinations affected by the Indian Ocean flooding catastrophe and to support the local population that is dependent on tourism.
After meeting tourist representatives of the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Klaus Laepple, president of the German travel agents and tour operators association DRV, appealed to tour operators, airlines, national tourist offices and other travel organisations to market the destinations actively with up-to-date travel information.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) urged international visitors to support the region by booking holidays there. “Now more than ever, Indian Ocean countries want you to come and visit. Not only will tourism maintain jobs and boost local economies, it will also be a sign of support and solidarity, giving new hope and confidence to those who have begun to rebuild their lives and livelihoods,” declared president and CEO Peter de Jong.
On the Maldives, according to PATA, 64 of the islands’ 87 resorts are open, many others are expects to re-open shortly and only a handful need major work. The Thai tourist office said that 83% of hotels on Phuket are operating normally. On Sri Lanka, tourist board chief Udaya Nanayakkara said 25 of the island’s 246 hotels are closed but most would re-open in February.
The island’s tourist board plans a major marketing campaign in 11 key markets, including Germany and the UK, focusing on cultural and natural attractions as well as beaches.