The Pacific Asia Travel Association, joining the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Travel and Tourism Council in showing sympathy and readiness to help the people affected by storm Yolanda, urged tourists to continue with their travels and donate to the victims.
PATA has been in contact with local and national tourism officials in the Philippines to offer moral support and practical help. It has set up an online appeal to raise funds for the Philippines and earmarked $10,000 for the Philippine disaster relief fund.
PATA has also briefed the Asian Wall Street Journal on the need to maintain business confidence in the Philippine tourism sector and its essential role in economic development.
Martin Craigs, CEO of PATA, his group advise tourists that booked to visit the Philippines to contact their travel agents and pay attention to government travel advisories. But “we are urging them to continue wherever possible their plans to visit the Philippines and that the best best way to help is to donate and keep traveling to boost the Philippine visitor economy”
He added that PATA stands ready to offer additional help to the Philippines and is in contact with charitable agencies such as AirLink to establish additional tools for recovery.
The UNWTO, the agency tasked wit promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, expressed willingness to support the Philippines in any tourism-related recovery program for the affected areas and called for support by contributing to the ongoing relief efforts of the various United Nations (UN) agencies operating on the ground.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said he 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.”
Similarly, in a letter to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., David Scowsill, WTTC president/CEO, 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.”
Jimenez said: “We are grateful that relief contributions continue to arrive day by day from here and abroad. The support from various sectors since day 1 has been overwhelming. With the assistance from UNWTO, PATA, and WTTC, we have shown that the tourism industry is not only an engine of economic growth and development, but it is also a compassionate and supportive 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 added.
Jimenez said he is confident that the country’s tourism will bounce back in no time at all. “We thank our foreign guests and visitors for their patience, support, and understanding during Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), and we hope to see them again in their future travels to the Philippines.