A powerful earthquake in the Indian Ocean， so soon after the Boxing Day tsunami， will be a big setback for the region's plans to revive tourism. An earthquake 125 miles off the coast of the Indonesian island Sumatra triggered tsunami warnings. Indonesia， Sri Lanka， Thailand and India issued tsunami warnings， but fears of a tsunami seemed to subside after around three hours and they were scaled down.
The earthquake struck at 16：09 GMT at a magnitude of 8.7. This was 11：09pm local time. There were reports of many deaths in the Indonesian island of Nias， south of the earthquake's epicentre. Tourism in the region is likely to be affected whether or not the earthquake leads to tsunamis. “As a direct result of the （Boxing Day） tsunami there is a risk that 9% of international travellers planning a holiday in 2005 have switched their travel plans to other regions，” says a report published earlier this month.
The “Post-Tsunami global travel intentions” report， commissioned by the intergovernmental World Tourism Organisation （WTO）， highlights how those worst affected by the tsunami have also been the ones hit by the sharpest falls in visitor numbers. “Since the tsunami disaster， there has been a significant drop in international travel to affected tourist destinations such as Phuket in Thailand， Sri Lanka and the Maldives，” says James Murray， executive with Visa International Asia Pacific， which co-authored the report.