MANILA, Philippines—International travel organizations have expressed readiness to support the Philippines in any tourism-related recovery program for areas ravaged by the recent calamity.
In a statement posted on its website, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata), also urged tourists to continue to visit Philippine destinations despite the devastation in some areas wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” to help boost the country’s economy.
“Pata believes that tourists booked to visit the Philippines should contact their travel agents and pay attention to government travel advisories, but continue wherever possible with plans to visit the Philippines,” said Pata CEO Martin Craigs.
“The best way to help is to donate and keep traveling to boost the Philippine visitor economy,” Craigs said, adding that Pata stands ready to offer additional help to the Philippines and is in contact with charitable agencies to establish additional tools for recovery.
A membership association committed to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia-Pacific region, Pata has also set up an online appeal to raise funds for the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has expressed optimism that the country’s tourism will soon bounce back from the disaster.
“UNWTO is confident that despite this tragic occurrence, the tourism sector in the Philippines will continue to strive and make a key contribution to the development of the country,” said UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai.
He also called on the tourism industry and tourists to support the Philippines by donating their contributions to the ongoing relief efforts of the various UN agencies operating on the ground.
The UNWTO, as the leading international organization in the field of tourism, is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
Meanwhile, in a personal letter addressed to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), expressed his “deepest sympathies for the extraordinary human losses in the Philippines as a result of the Typhoon ‘Haiyan’…Although we are not equipped to help directly, we are indeed ready to stand with your colleagues from Pata and Asean to help support their outreach.”
In response, Jimenez expressed appreciation for the “overwhelming” messages and support for the Filipino people from its partners in the international travel community.
“The outpouring of support from the international community, especially from these tourism organizations, is proof positive that travel and tourism has transformed the world into one community, ready to stand by each other not only in times of festivities, but more importantly during times of great difficulty and challenges,” Jimenez said in a statement.
“We are optimistic that the country’s tourism will bounce back in no time at all,” he added.
It added that the top tourist destinations in the Visayas continue to be accessible through their respective ports of entry: Boracay island through Kalibo and Caticlan in Aklan; Cebu through the Mactan International Airport; Bohol through the Tagbilaran City airport; Iloilo through the Iloilo and Bacolod-Silay airports.
“Tourism establishments and activities continue and remain in operation in other parts of the country,” the Department of Tourism said.