Ignorance Bliss

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

SINGAPORE, Apr. 25 (AFP) – The Philippines, Singapore and Japan escaped the 2004 tsunamis which devastated much of Asia but some potential travelers believe otherwise, a survey released Tuesday found. The poll of thousands of respondents across 10 global markets found that an average of 18 percent said several destinations untouched by the tragedy were still “severely or somewhat affected.”

AC Nielsen conducted the survey in March for Visa International and the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

“The most common ‘false positive’ was the Philippines — identified by 50 percent of respondents as being affected,” the survey said.

Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China and South Korea were also falsely identified as being hit by the December 2004 disaster, the results showed.

The tsunamis killed more than 220,000 people in the region, mostly in Indonesia but with significant casualties also in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

“Travelers’ perceptions do not always reflect the reality of a situation, and ignorance is costing the industry billions,” said Paul Dowling, Visa Asia Pacific’s executive vice-president for corporate relations.

“Better consumer educatio