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Tourism Risk Management Guide to Help Local Businesses Prepare for Disasters and Crises

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APEC has launched an authoritative Tourism Risk Management Guide and training package to help businesses dependent on the tourism trade to survive natural disasters and crises.

This is the first time that formal risk management processes have been applied to the tourism sector. The materials are now freely available for governments and tourism industry organizations around the region to use, reproduce and distribute as required.

Launched today on the Gold Coast in Australia the program was developed in direct response to the damage inflicted upon the tourism industry by disasters that include the Indian Ocean Boxing Day Tsunami, Bali Bombings, Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks. The Information Guide and training programs have been researched and published by the APEC International Centre for Sustainable Tourism (AICST) in association with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Australian Government.

Available in five languages the APEC Tourism Risk Management Guide is designed to enable national and regional governments and tourism organisations to help tourism destinations and tourism related businesses to plan for and more effectively deal with crises when they strike.

AICST Chair, Sir Frank Moore, said the experiences of recent years, when thousands of lives, business and jobs were lost as a result of both natural and man-made disasters, have provided numerous lessons that the region must learn from.

"Nothing good comes from disasters such as tsunamis and bombings but we owe it to those who have suffered to learn from their experience to reduce harm in the future," Sir Frank said at the launch of the program on the Gold Coast today.

"When implemented within destinations and by both small and large tourism operators the Tourism Risk Management approach will help prevent business and job losses as well as reduce loss of life and injuries in the event of a disaster. The businesses that will benefit from the program include not only those directly servicing visitors, but also operations that provide supplies, support services and other inputs such as bakers, taxi drivers, printing companies and laundries.

The training programs include Instructor's Guides and Workshop Participant's Workbooks that are available for download or in printed form that cover issues such as developing risk assessment and management strategies before a disaster strikes, dealing with a disaster when it occurs and recovery after the threat has passed.

Sir Frank said it is important that tourism operators have an understanding of how risk management can improve their businesses.

"Planning for all eventualities is essential no matter if it is a disaster such as an act of nature or terrorist attack or a longer term crisis such as an avian influenza pandemic.

"This includes identifying opportunities to improve business planning and policies through to how to maintain contact with the media to provide essential information on tourism facilities and services.

"Importantly, in times of crisis both residents and visitors need firm leadership and direction and this requires adequate pre-planning."

The programs have been developed to be delivered as either a self-learning tool by business operators or as a clearly developed program for delivery to groups of tourism operators and government officials.

The guide provides a practical framework from which tourism operators can apply crisis management strategies for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

The program can be downloaded.

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