To build a competitive tourism destination or business it is essential to plan for crises. The Tourism Industry Council and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Australia have created this Knowledge Exchange to assist you to prevent, prepare, respond to and recover from natural disasters, extreme weather events and their consequences like bushfires.
We welcome submissions of case studies, academic papers and research which can be added to this Knowledge Exchange and provide responsible advice to help protect the tourism businesses and their staff, visitors and Australia’s heritage.
Background Information and Research
Risk management consists of four phases, namely prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The following publications give you background information about risk management in general and also research which has been conducted on that topic. The latter will specifically be helpful for tourism professionals and planners.
The first step in risk management is about identifying hazards, risks and mitigating the dangers. It is focused on legislation, building codes and land use. This step helps you to be aware of risks and at the same time reducing them to a minimum.
The second phase of risk management is about preparing for a crisis. Generally, this includes developing a preparedness plan and training. Preparing for a crisis can ease your mind; because once you are prepared you know exactly what to do if a crisis happens. It does not mean you will not be scared and that it will stop feeling of anxiety if a crisis happens, but it will help you not to panic and put you at ease with the threat.
When it comes to responding to a crisis, ideally the first two steps will have helped to keep the damage as low as possible. Typically the response is led by emergency services. By that phase every owner or manager should know what to do. A clear structure and set responsibilities are essential to successful operations. A crisis communication plan will help to reduce anxiety and panic.
Recovering from a crisis is aimed to return the destination back to its original state. You might be eligible for funding if your business has suffered from a crisis. This last phase of risk management will always include marketing campaigns and combined community effort to rebuild. Equally important will be to acknowledge psychological problems you might have. Depression, traumatic stress disorders and other mental health disorders are common after dramatic experiences such as surviving a bushfire and therefore you should not be afraid to ask for professional help.