Post disaster tourism crisis recovery in SIDS: development and testing of an integrated approach
The tourism industry is especially vulnerable to crises and disasters. Its vulnerabilities include both physical infrastructure and more intangible elements such as destination image and reputation. Being a fragmented industry, its response is typically difficult to initiate and coordinate during a disaster. Natural disasters and environmental vulnerabilities are of special concern for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). If a disaster occurs in a small country which is economically based on tourism, it will usually entail a second disaster including; reduced tourist arrivals, loss of employment, declines in private sector profits, a reduction in government revenues, increased imports and rising insurance costs. In the last decade, there has been a growing interest in the tourism research field of crises and disasters. This is partly due to security incidents and natural disasters that appear to have increased in frequency and significance during this period. Various models and disaster management frameworks have been developed. Most of the literature focuses on the effects of risks, crises and disasters in the short-term rather than on long-term impacts and lessons learned from this aspect of a tourism industry following a major disaster. Furthermore, most of these studies are focused on larger and developed nations. A thorough review of crisis and disaster management literature and models revealed that an integrated framework and approach are lacking, and require development and testing for tourism disaster planning and management. This thesis has investigated how tourism destinations that have suffered from natural disasters recover and plan for future disasters. A framework for tourism area disaster planning and management has been developed through a critical literature review. In terms of testing this integrated framework, the research adopted a case study design using mixed methods of data collection. The exemplar used was the Maldives (afflicted by the Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004). Qualitative interviews were conducted in the field in the case study destination with individual tourism operators, the government and private sector agencies responsible for destination marketing and emergency services. Findings show that the proposed integrated framework for tourism disaster planning and management is a practical framework that could be applied by National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) in a Small Island Developing State to proactively prepare for a tourism crisis or a disaster and to even revitalize their tourism industry following a crises or a disaster. The NTOs actions and strategies in the Maldives can be used as a reference when dealing with adverse events to the tourism industry. Based on a comparison between the conceptual framework and the case study results, the integrated framework for tourism disaster planning and management was redeveloped. The new framework integrated several components from the existing Tourism Disaster Management Framework (TDMF). The framework provided details on required emergency actions from the governmental and private sectors, whilst focusing on tourism industry responsibilities. The new framework focused on activities and strategies that the NTOs should be pursuing in a proactive approach to manage disasters that can affect tourism. This research indicates the need to be prepared for crisis and disaster management in the tourism industry. A tourism destination that has a realistic assessment of the risks and required disaster management strategies and disaster management planning is likely to respond and recover quickly should a crisis or disaster occur. Investigation of previous disasters and crises is required for developing comprehensive scenarios based crises or disaster management plans. NTOs could undertake research on adverse events which have had an impact on the tourism industry in the past and base their tourism disaster management plans on these findings. Effective institutional arrangements are also crucial for implementing the integrated approach. Respective governments need to ensure that there is one overall disaster management agency with a clear line of authority and decision making process, particularly for emergency relief and response. In the tourism context, the NTOs or the relevant government departments must develop clear strategies and should be delegated with the decision making authority at a national level. Future research is suggested for any component/s in the proposed Integrated Framework for Tourism Disaster Planning and Management. Similarly, the whole framework could be tested by using a case study of another type of crisis or disaster. Another area of future research could focus on the effects of disasters on destination image and the effectiveness of government strategies in restoring market confidence. More research is also required to understand disaster preparedness and organizational learning within the tourism industry in Small Island Developing States.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsTourism; tourism impacts; tourism economics; tourism planning; disaster recovery; disaster risk reduction; small island states; Small Island Developing States
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