UN World Tourism Organization Expresses its Support for Haiti

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) , an agency of the United Nations which helps promote responsible, sustainable tourism, especially in developing countries, released a statement about the devastating natural disaster that Haiti experienced in January. The UNWTO statement, released in Madrid on 14 January 2010, revealed that the World Tourism Organization stands completely ready to support Haiti in any way possible. The organization expressed its deepest sympathy for Haiti, and sincere sadness at the loss of life that Haiti experienced. The UNWTO gave its condolences to the people who had lost loved ones in this tragic earthquake, and offered its support to the citizens of the devastated country.

The UN World Tourism Organization revealed that its own ranks had been seriously impacted by this natural disaster; the UN headquarters, as well as a number of other buildings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where UN workers were then located, collapsed during the strong quake. At the time of the UNWTO report on 14 January, as many as 150 UN staff members were still yet to be found among the collapsed buildings. The UN had verified that 16 of its staff, at the time working with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, had died in the quake. Sadly , UN officials believe that many more of the 150 missing will eventually be verified as fatalities.

Despite its own tragic losses, the UNWTO declared its intention to stand ready to assist Haiti, in whatever ways possible. They affirmed that this earthquake is proving to be an historically tragic natural disaster, one that poses a challenge to the entire international community.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization announced that, despite its own losses and sorrow in this situation, it stands ready to serve the people of Haiti. The organization offered to lend its support by working with Haiti and the representatives of other countries to help assess the damage that this earthquake caused to the island nation, particularly related to how this disaster will impact tourism in the countries near future. The organization said it plans to contribute to developing and implementing a recovery plan, with the belief that the reconstruction of this country can be aided through revitalizing tourism.