UNWTO Heading to Indonesia

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that it is strengthening its commitment to crisis management, and is sending a support mission to Indonesia to assess the tourism impact of the May 27 Central Java earthquake. In addition, Noviendi Makalam, deputy director for planning at the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, says that the death toll stands at 6,800, with thousands more injured and 100,000 people rendered homeless. He says that tourist cancellations are running at about 66 percent and many hotels were closed for damage inspections. Meanwhile, the UNWTO's Risk Assessment and Management Working Group, meeting in Madrid, reviewed the organization's progress on preparedness for avian flu and worked on mapping out a program of activities to deal with all types of tourism crises. The group supports a proposal for a comprehensive two-year program to finish work on avian flu preparedness, expand work to cover all types of crises, and offer technical assistance and training to member countries. The plan still needs endorsement by the organization's executive council later this month. Visit [www.unwto.org].