The Global Travel & Tourism Community would like to extend again its condolences to all those affected by the tsunami which hit areas in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand. Many of those who lost their lives were tourists or tourism personnel.
For those that remain, Travel & Tourism continues to be an important economic activity. Therefore tourists must continue to visit these countries to ensure that the vital income provided by tourism does not stop. Furthermore, the impact of the tsunami, while devastating, was restricted to specific coastal locations within the countries affected.
Therefore, much of the core infrastructure is in place. This should aid a swift recovery. The unprecedented international aid from around the world will of course play a vital role in helping to rebuild the communities that have been devastated. In many of the affected areas in Southern Thailand and the Maldives much of the reconstruction is already underway and should not take too long to rebuild. In other areas where many units have suffered, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, assistance will be needed to rebuild businesses and lead towards social and economic prosperity once again.
Travel & Tourism will need to be prioritized as the reconstruction programme moves ahead. While it will take some time yet to assess accurately the economic impact of the tsunami at the local, regional or global levels, all organizations are working together to collect information and inform the trade and media of the status of tourism infrastructure in the affected areas.
The Global Coalition supports all initiatives which have been put in place to assist those affected by the tsunami and are happy to be part of any co-ordinated initiatives. The economic importance of Travel & Tourism in the affected countries (WTTC, 2004):
In India, Travel & Tourism activity accounted for 4.9 per cent of total GDP and 5.6 per cent of total employment in 2004. In Indonesia, WTTC research shows that in 2004, Travel & Tourism generated 10.3 per cent of GDP and 8.5 per cent of total employment. Travel & Tourism activity in Malaysia accounted for 14.7 per cent of GDP and 12.7 per cent of total employment. In the Maldives, 74.1 per cent of total GDP and 64.4 per cent of total employment in 2004 was accounted for by the Travel & Tourism Economy.
In Sri Lanka, Travel & Tourism activity in 2004 generated 10.8 per cent of GDP and 8.8 per cent of total employment. In Thailand, Travel & Tourism activity in 2004 generated 12.2 per cent of GDP and 8.9 per cent of total employment.