News of the world

Kournikova has been offered a lucrative contract.

Tourists to Tibet up 24pc

LHASA: Tibet received 850,000 visitors last year, up nearly one fourth from the previous year, according to the tourism bureau of the southwest China autonomous region. The increase was largely due to a big hike in the number of domestic visitors to 720,000 in 2002, up 29 per cent from a year earlier. Last year also saw 130,000 overseas tourists in Tibet, up 2.4 percent, bureau sources said.

Tibet's tourism revenue in the last year amounted to $168 million, 51 million of which was contributed by overseas visitors and $117 million by domestic visitors, according to statistics.

China's tourism to earn $75bn

HANGZHOU: China's total income from tourism is predicted to reach 600 billion yuan ($75 billion) in 2003, up 8.5 per cent from 2002.

The goal for 2003 is to receive 100 million inbound tourists, including 14 million foreigners, said He Guangwei, director of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

Foreign tourism income is expected to reach $21.5 billion. Domestic travellers will reach 900 million, with domestic tourism generating income of $53 billion.

Cambodia to launch website

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia has proposed to launch ASEAN web site on tourism security in order to help tourists to resist advisories on security misinformation, Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth said.

Cambodia has sent out the initiative to launch an ASEAN website on security issues with the aim of avoiding confusion and advisories on tourism security misinformation, Veng Sereyvuth said.

The website will give quick and common response on security issue rather than having separate voices that may lead to confusions, said the minister.

Nigeria told to revamp industry

LAGOS: Nigeria should develop appealing tourism products to attract more foreign tourists, a high-ranking tourism official appealed to the Nigerian federal government and leading officials in the tourism industry.

Charles Ukomadu, acting secretary-general of the Federation for Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), said that such alluring products are still introduced regularly in advanced countries to woo tourists.

According to the FTAN head, if Nigeria can develop such tourism products, it will become a top destination for tourists across the world. Nigeria is worldwide considered as a country of insecurity and high crime rates, which were driving foreign tourists away.

Thailand tourism rising

BANGKOK: Despite the slowdown in the world travel industry, international tourist arrivals in Thailand this year are poised to surpass expectations and reach 10.7 million, six per cent more than last year. The strong performance came as a result of stepped- up marketing and public relations activities, said Juthamas Siriwan, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Travel agents okay Mombasa

LONDON: A group of 34 British travel agents have given the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa the thumbs-up despite political uncertainty in the country and a recent bomb blast that killed 16 patrons at a popular seafront hotel.

The group visited 11 hotels in the city and three game lodges in the nearby Tsavo national park in a weeklong fact finding mission from December 20 to 27, 2002.

Anna may boost Bali tourism

BALI: Anna Kournikova, the Russian tennis siren, has been offered a lucrative contract to compete in a WTA Tour event in Bali later this year.

The move is designed to attract tourists after the October 12 bombings, which killed about 180 people, including 88 Australians.

The 21-year-old is considered a huge draw card for young Australian males.

The Wismilak International tennis tournament, starting on September 8, would also coincide with many end-of-season Australian football club tours.