The second UNWTO regional Avian and Human Influenza Simulation (AHI) was actively supported
by the government of Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It
attracted 70 participants from more than 15 countries and several UN Agencies. The group modelled
the impact of a possible evolving pandemic in the Asia Pacific region, replicating the roles of government
departments, the tourism industry, international bodies and other stakeholders, including tourists
themselves. It followed a similar exercise held in Paris in March, which focused on Europe, the
Middle East and Africa.
In opening the event, the Secretary-General of the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Sapta
Nirwandar, and the Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Coordination Committee on
Avian Flu, Bayu Khrisnamurti, stressed the value of international cooperation and its help in
increasing the integration of Tourism issues in national coordination
With an estimated 10 million people travelling abroad at any given time and many more within their own countries,
the UNWTO keeps a close watch on health risks generally and AHI specifically. While there has been no change in the level of AHI alerts issued by the World Health
Organization, the Tourism sector is already taking action to be fully aware of the potential dangers and to prepare effectively.
The simulation helped to identify possible gaps in response systems and to understand the pressures and dynamics in a real-world
situation. It underscored the need for:
- clear communications,
- a fully prepared and trained work force, and
- unambiguous procedures for customer and workplace safety.
UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said "The Avian Flu threat does not diminish and like other sectors of the economy
Tourism needs to strengthen its defences. Every time we hold an awareness-building exercise of this nature we increase preparedness and
strengthen our coordination mechanisms."
After conducting its next simulation exercise in Mexico from 19-20 September 2007 for the Americas,
the UNWTO will have trained together with governments and international agencies around the world. This will provide a solid base for intensified national simulations in 2008.
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