We, the Tourism Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the occasion of the 8th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers on 24 January 2005 in Langkawi, Malaysia join the international community in mourning the great tragedy brought about by the earthquake and Tsunami disaster affecting the Indian Ocean rim countries on 26 December 2004.
We support the implementation of all recommendations stipulated in the Declaration on Action to Strengthen Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Prevention on the Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster adopted at the Special ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia on 6 January 2005 and strengthen our solidarity and commitment to join hands in assisting the affected countries to fully recover from the catastrophic and traumatic effects of the disaster, in particular our tourism industry.
Though the disaster brought about damage of unprecedented magnitude to several coastal and urban communities, the damage was limited to specific areas. The tourism industry in most of these areas and that of the whole of the ASEAN region, remains strong and robust. This reflects the resilience of ASEAN’s tourism industry.
With the support provided by the international community, we are confident that ASEAN tourism will bounce back and surpass its pre- December 26 levels.
We call on governments to be fair and responsible in issuing travel advisories and on the media for balanced and accurate reporting. We also urge these governments to coordinate, qualify and verify reports of damage with the proper national authorities before issuing such advisories that may prove damaging not just to the nations concerned but to the whole region as well.
Amidst the tragedy that has befallen our Asian neighbors, our message is clear – that travel to ASEAN countries remains safe.