Tourists stay close to home


Tourism professionals told a forum that short-distance tourism within the Asia-Pacific region would soon become the new focus for cooperation among Asian destinations.

P Ramanujam, secretary of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism, said that Western travelers have reduced their long-distance tourism due to the September 11 attacks and the global economic downturn, resulting in reduction of tourist sources for Asia. In response, Asian countries and regions should enhance inter-regional cooperation for tapping customer resources within the Asian continent, he said.

Kirti Nidhi Bista, the former Nepalese prime minister, said that the number of travelers from Western countries had drastically declined. However, several thousand Chinese tourists come to Nepal a year, which indicates that such cooperation is conducive to the common development of Asian tourism.

German Porras, president and chairman of the European Travel Commission, said that the economic recession and terrorism would have a negative impact on the recovery of long-distance tourism in the long run.