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Tsunami anniversary planning must start now

Countries affected by the December 26, 2004 quake and tsunami must now start preparing for the first anniversary…

Countries affected by the December 26, 2004 quake and tsunami must now start preparing for the first anniversary, according to Kenyon International Emergency Services Chief Operating Officer Mr Robert Jensen. At a special PATA-Kenyon briefing session in Bangkok today, Mr Jensen said that all the eyes of the world will be on Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand on the first anniversary of the disaster.

The authorities need to plan a very professional memorial, he said. It is an opportunity to highlight that people care. Mr Jensen acknowledged that while the anniversary will come at peak season, holding memorials need not and should not deter tourists, whose main objective was to have a relaxing holiday. It is not `either or`, he said. If done well, you can accommodate both. If you just do either, you are setting yourself up for a fall.

Mr Jensen told the travel industry audience that it was vital for stakeholders to immediately identify who would be in charge of co-ordinating memorial activities. We need to start today, he said.

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