Tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world with greater numbers of people traveling both nationally and internationally than ever before. The importance of tourism to the economy is overwhelmingly significant and the effects of a crisis can have devastating, long-range impacts for destinations and organizations, as well as the nation’s economy.
The level of preparedness for nature- and human-induced disasters is of increasingly significant concern for governments and the private sector. In addition, public consciousness about safety, security, and crisis management have been dramatically heightened because of recent catastrophic events. Given the economic magnitude and the critical importance of the tourism industry, it is imperative for governments at all levels to focus on prudent levels of preparedness and recovery efforts for the travel and tourism industry. Proactive measures such as development of tourism crisis management plans that strategically emphasize communication and training, visitor evacuation, and economic recovery will alleviate negative social and economic impacts.
The Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (TCMI) was established in 2007 to assist the industry with comprehensive tourism crisis management initiatives through research, consulting & training, and education services. The Initiative is housed within the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management, and is also affiliated with other allied academic disciplines at the University of Florida.
Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D.
Director, Tourism Crisis Management Initiative