UN says Asia Pacific should use Internet to boost tourism

Governments and private operators should make greater use of the Internet to promote Asia-Pacific tourism, the United Nations, quoted in an AFP report, said.

The AFP report also said the UN made the announcement as the industry gathered for its first regional e-tourism conference in Malaysia.

The Internet could be used to target tourists directly, rather than depending on tour operators, Arlette Verploegh, of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), told AFP.

She said use of the Internet in tourism was currently limited to hotel Web sites and government tourism boards, which advertised attractions and services, the AFP report said.

'It can be actually made to be more efficient, where (government and private operators) can better manage their operations by e-branding and e-marketing,' Verploegh was quoted as saying.

'In this was they will not always be depending on a middleman. They can directly target their customers and decide on where, how, and what they should promote.'

Verploegh said countries which had practiced e-tourism had seen a boost in revenues from the sector, the AFP report said.

About 200 delegates representing tourism ministries, tour operators, transport companies and other industry members were attending the conference.