PACIFIC ISLANDS’ TOURISM SET TO BOUNCE BACK, SAYS BIKINI DIVE OPERATOR NIEDENTHAL

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PACIFIC ISLANDS’ TOURISM SET TO BOUNCE BACK, SAYS BIKINI DIVE OPERATOR NIEDENTHAL

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (October 2, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The Pacific islands tourism industry may not be as hard hit by the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. as some have been predicting.

Jack Niedenthal, who runs the diving operation on Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands, says there may be some problems with getting people flying again, but he is confident about the long-term future for Pacific tourism.

He says the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. seem to have actually increased demand for his business.

"Nobody cancelled, and we actually picked up five more people, in fact, for this week," he said.

"So we were a little bit in shock about that, and just this week I've gotten more reservations for next year. So it's almost had no effect and I could almost say it's actually picked up.

"When people realize where they're going, in Micronesia, you're going to Bikini, which is a little calm, tranquil place way off the beaten path, ah, it's somewhere I think people will want to go," Mr. Niedenthal told Radio Australia.

"I'm an American by birth, and I feel much safer here out here in the Marshall Islands than I would in the United States right now."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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