Tsunami damage dominates tourism fair
26 January 2005, MADRID-Rebuilding tourist infrastructure in areas hit by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean dominated the 25th Spanish International Tourism Fair (FITUR) which opened in Madrid.
26 January 2005
MADRID-Rebuilding tourist infrastructure in areas hit by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean dominated the 25th Spanish International Tourism Fair (FITUR) which opened in Madrid.
About 12,000 firms from 170 countries, including many hit by the tsunami on 26 December, participated in the opening.
The organisers are putting an emphasis on helping to put tourism activities damaged by the tsunami back on their feet, and proceedings began with a minute's silence for the victims of the disaster which killed about 280,000 people.
Spanish Secretary General for Tourism, Raimon Martinez Fraile, stressed that the idea of the forum was to establish a "meeting platform for the development of tourist activity on a global scale".
He added that the forum, which runs until Sunday, wanted to make clear its readiness to support the tsunami-hit nations as they sought to rebuild shattered infrastructure.
"We want, not only to express our readiness to provide formal support, but work out means of cooperation which will help them to develop swiftly development of their tourist activity," Fraile said, noting that FITUR was one of the world's leading tourism forums.
Visitors thronged 799 stands at Madrid's Juan Carlos I trade park (IFEMA).
Organisers put the costs at about EUR nine million (USD 11m).
Former Madrid mayor Jose Maria Alvarez del Manzano, one of the IFEMA organisers, told reporters that seven nations affected by the tsunami had sent representatives to the fair and had been granted exemption from the 108 euros per square metre costs of running a stand.
India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldivas, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand were participating, organisers said.
Almost half of this year's exhibitors at fair are from outside Spain, and organisers said that the Asian and African presence had increased markedly.
Next week, after taking the industry temperature at the forum, the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization will hold an Executive Council session in the Thai resort of Phuket.
The Emergency Task Force of the UN specialist agency for tourism will first convene on 31 January to unveil a "Phuket Action Plan" designed to accelerate tourism recovery in the Indian Ocean area.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news