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 World Travel & Tourism Council President, David Scowsill, States Accurate Message Needs to be Shared Regarding Safety and Security in Japan as Efforts Continue to Aid for Tourism Rebound
18 April 2011 - President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), David Scowsill, has just returned from Tokyo where he held key meetings with the government, airlines and travel leaders to discuss how WTTC could help to kick-start the recovery in inbound, domestic and outbound Travel & Tourism.

The main message that Scowsill is delivering to foreign governments is that their travel advisories need to more accurately reflect the status of the country in terms of safety and security, with Tokyo and the rest of Japan (including Hokkaido, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe) all currently deemed safe to visit.

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said:

"The situation is clearly serious, with cancellations forcing hotels to cut costs and operate with skeleton staffing, airlines cancelling flights and running low load factors, and restaurants struggling as Japanese consumers continue to cancel trips and stay at home".

"Although there are still a number of uncertainties regarding the fall-out from the nuclear power plant explosions, life is returning to normal: the Baseball League has restarted, flights have resumed at Sendai Airport, and Tokyo Disneyland has re-opened. Governments around the world have been too slow to remove blanket travel bans on the whole country; they must ensure that their travel advice accurately reflects what is actually happening on the ground."

"Travel & Tourism always recovers rapidly from natural disasters, but this incident in Japan is a little different due to the perception of the situation with the nuclear plants at Fukushima. I urge the Japanese Government and industry leaders to communicate clearly to the outside world that the situation in Fukushima is under control. Without this clear and ongoing assurance, it will be difficult to stimulate inbound tourists to return when they have so many other destinations to visit. The lingering concern about radiation must be eradicated from the minds of potential visitors, and this requires a sustained and co-ordinated communications campaign," Scowsill continues.

As Japan prepares for Golden Week (29 April - 5 May) - one of the four major outbound travel periods in the Japanese market - operators are forecasting that outbound trip volume will be a lot lower than last year. But Scowsill said he sees no reason why outbound Japanese consumers should continue to cancel their trips, as the nation is already demonstrating that life is beginning its return to normal.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) was established in 1990 with Members representing the world's foremost leaders in the private sector of Travel & Tourism. It aims to promote the importance of the industry as a generator of economic growth, encourage public-private partnerships, and persuade governments to adopt policies that will allow the industry to thrive. WTTC's annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit brings together over 1,000 delegates to discuss the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the industry, while its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise the industry's power to be a positive force in sustainability.

Anja Eckervogt
Communications Executive
44 (0) 20 7481 6484

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Also See: World Travel & Tourism Council Crisis Committee Issues Estimate of London Bombing Impact / July 2005

WTTC's 2005 Top Ten List of Travel & Tourism Economies; Tsunami Assessment Given for Thailand, Sri Lanka, and The Maldives / April 2005

SARS Has Massive Impact on Travel & Tourism in Affected Destinations / World Travel & Tourism Council Report / May 2003

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