Introduction: Disaster Management in the Tourism Industry in the 21st Century
The technological and scientific breakthrough that has been witnessed over the past several decades has created the foil for the rapid development of the tourism industry (Albattat & Som 2013). Offering both the opportunity to reach the most exotic places in the world and at the same time enjoy the comfortable environment, tourism companies have a chance at striving. However, the number of threats and risks to which travel companies and their customers are exposed has also grown significantly. Emergencies and crises such as terrorist attacks, technology malfunctioning, natural disasters, etc., may make lesser tourism organizations cease to exist. Despite the abundance of risk management (RM) strategies designed specifically to address crises and emergencies, a comprehensive framework has not been suggested yet, mainly because the primary cause of emergencies and crises is quite difficult to define.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Tourism Industry: Emergency and Crisis Management specifically for you
301 certified writers online
- What are the primary causes of emergencies and crises in the tourism industry?
- How travel companies address the said emergencies and crises, and what methods are currently the most efficient ones?
- What are the reasons for certain RM strategies to fail?
- How can the current RM approaches used in the travel industry be improved to facilitate customer safety and help a travel organization avoid market failure?
Literature Review: Essential Information about Disaster Management
Current Threats in the Tourism Industry
Emergency planning and preparedness can be considered the most important elements of the tourism industry (Parnell, Crandall, & Crandall 2016). Since traveling implies that a tourist should be taken from the familiar environment and placed in the new and possibly hostile one, it is crucial to make sure that the slightest threats to the client’s well-being should be eliminated. As a rule, external hazards include terrorist attacks, natural disasters (e. g, a landslide), and man-made crises (e.g., fire). Internal ones, in their turn, include the possibility of a tourist injuring themselves (e.g., breaking a leg) (AlBattat, Som, & Li-Ting 2014).
Risk Management Strategies
Incorporation of the latest technologies that allow detecting a hazard or a threat and informing the customer in a timely and efficient manner is currently viewed as the primary RM tool in the hospitality industry. Identification of the unique properties of the tourist destination (e.g., local wildlife, lack of political stability, etc.) is another important step toward reinforcing the security of the customer (Hoise & Pforr 2016).
Impediments to a Successful RM Process
Unfortunately, the identification of natural disasters may be too slow to use a proper strategy to safeguard tourists. As far as terrorist attacks are concerned, even the absence of political conflicts does not guarantee complete safety. The unpredictability of the threats can be viewed as the key issue faced by modern tourist agencies. The fact that innovative data management tools are available to terrorists makes the process of facilitating the safety of the customers barely possible in the tourism industry (Ritchie & Campiranon 2014).
Methodology: How the Problem Will Be Explored
Research Design: Qualitative Study as the Basis
Seeing that the nature of the problem will be studied, it will be reasonable to use a qualitative research design. Thus, the nature of the issue will be identified. As a result, a compelling framework for Emergency and Crisis Management (ECM) will be devised.
Research Type: Phenomenology as the Tool for Understanding the Problem
Because the causes of the issue will be studied, phenomenology should be used as the research type.
Data Collection: Interviews and Documents as the Essential Sources
To gather the necessary information, interviews will be carried out among the representatives of local travel agencies and their customers. Thus, one may gain an objective perspective on the subject matter.
Data Analysis Tool: Content Analysis
The content analysis tool will be utilized to process the information.
Results: Communication Management as the Key to Success
An overview of the current RM frameworks has shown that most organizations focus on preventing instances of emergency and disasters. The said approach should be deemed as appropriate since it helps reduce the threat of damages and losses. For example, installing protective tools is often viewed as a means of reducing the threat of a terrorist attack. However, the lack of emphasis on the practical issue, i.e., the management of an actual disaster or a crisis needs to be emphasized as an obvious reason for concern. Furthermore, there has been a propensity toward stressing the significance of information management and using the existing information technology (IT) devices to reduce the threat.
Results Discussion: Improving the Current Emergency and Crisis Management Framework in Tourism
The absence of the strategies for tackling an emergency or a crisis in the tourism industry can be explained by the fact that most of them, including natural disasters and man-made catastrophes (e.g., terrorist attacks, fires, etc.), are practically unpredictable. The identified factors, however, do not excuse a poor design of the existing emergency and disaster management (EDM) frameworks. Most tourism agencies seem not to pay close attention to the unique properties of the areas in which the security measures are applied. As a result, a set of stock approaches is implemented, opening a plethora of chances for accidents to occur.
The fact that only 86% of the personnel interviewed by the author of this study for the current research was fully aware of the emergency plans designed by the company should also be viewed as a reason for concern. It seems that information management issues are the key stumbling block for most companies. Indeed, given the scale of the threats that the global environment poses to travelers, tourism agencies must keep their staff members on their toes to address an emergency or a crisis.
Conclusion and Recommendations: Managing Emergency and Crisis Successfully
The fact that most tourism organizations miss the opportunity to incorporate the latest IT tools to improve the information management process and, therefore, prevent accidents in case of emergencies and crises should be the focus of modern travel agencies. To make sure that every single customer is provided with maximum security and that any accidents should be avoided successfully, the firms operating in the tourism industry should put a very heavy emphasis on the use of IT devices and the means of providing the staff members and the clients with essential information within the shortest amount of time possible. Social media can be used as a way of instructing potential customers about the means of maintaining personal safety. As a result, internal threats will partially be addressed. Furthermore, a travel organization must incorporate the latest technological advances to protect its information and instruct the staff members about the means of handling crises and emergencies. Apart from consistent training, the employees must be provided with an opportunity to communicate via a corporate social network. Thus, the essential data will be shared by all staff members and protected from cyberattacks. To design a successful ECM framework, one must maintain safety and security levels high.
Albattat, AR, & Som, APM 2013, ‘Emergency preparedness for disasters and crises in the hotel industry’, SAGE Journals, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-10.
AlBattat, AR, Som, APM, & Li-Ting, C 2014, ‘Hospitality emergency management and the dirty twelve: a dozen reasons for failure’, Asia-Pacific Journal Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 89-106.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Hoise, P & Pforr, C 2016, Crisis management in the tourism industry: beating the odds?, Routledge, New York, NY.
Parnell, JA, Crandall, WA, & Crandall, RE 2016, ’In pursuit of crisis readiness: an examination of managerial characteristics, firm size, industry domain and strategic type within the miles and snow framework’, Journal of North American Management Society, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 22-38.
Ritchie, BW & Campiranon, K 2014, Tourism crisis and disaster management in the Asia-Pacific, CABI, Boston, MA.