Tourism Crisis Management Planning

First Annual Tourism Crisis Management Leadership Workshop (2010)

The 2010 Tourism Crisis Management Initiative Leadership Workshop was held October 19 & 20, 2010 at the Courtyard at Jolie’s in downtown Gainesville, Florida, USA. Sessions focused on leadership issues related to risk reduction, readiness, response, and recovery, which provided participants with a template for a tourism crisis management plan. Industry professionals, from both hospitality/tourism and emergency management, presented best practices to help provide working examples of how to lead a destination/business through nature and human-induced crises in order to minimize damages to business operations and revenue. Participants were able to network with other industry professionals, as well as the speakers. This workshop was funded by the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

TCMI would like to give a special thanks to the speakers who helped to make the First Annual Tourism Crisis Management Leadership Workshop a success:
Ibrahim Abu-Helil, President Advisor, Arab Tourism Organisation (ATO)
H. Scott Ackerman, Vice President, Travel Guard of Retail Sales and Property Management
Lee Cockerell, Lee Cockerell Inc.
Dr. Thomas Drabek, John Evans Professor and Professor Emeritus, University of Denver
Dirk Glaesser, Head, Risk and Crisis Management Department, UNWTO, WhatAbout.travel
Ian Henderson, Managing Partner UK, TTC International
Scott Lodde, Principal, Alliance Real Estate Asset Management Group, LLC
Roland Loog, Director, Alachua County Visitor and Convention Bureau
Joni Newkirk, CEO, Integrated Insight, Inc.
Dennis Petroskey, Senior Vice President, Communications, US Travel Association
Kitty Ratcliffe, President, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
Scott Sanders, Principal and Executive Vice President, Integrated Insight, Inc.
Andrea Schultz, Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security
Dr. Peter Tarlow, Founder and President, Tourism Tidbits
Chris Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer, VISIT FLORIDA®

Evaluation of Florida State Parks System Crisis Plans Using the TCMI Tourism Crisis Management Model (2009)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate Florida Park Service (FPS) Emergency Action Component (EAC) plans with respect to comprehensive readiness towards visitors/tourists’ needs during crises. Analysis was conducted to analyze each Park’s plan based on four stages (Reduction, Readiness, Response, and Recovery) of tourism crisis management. Content analysis was used to analyze 166 state park EAC plans. The study was funded by the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

Analysis of State Tourism Organization’s (STO’s) Tourism Crisis Plans (2009)

The purpose of this study was to assess current tourism crisis management plans among 50 official State Tourism Organizations (STO) and one official District Tourism Organizations (DTO). The respective organizations were asked to provide their tourism crisis management plans to the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative via email or mail. Comparative analysis was conducted to analyze each plan based on four stages (Reduction, Readiness, Response, and Recovery) of tourism crisis management. The study was funded by the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

US Tourism Industry Crisis Preparedness Study (2008)

The purpose of this study was to explore current levels of crisis planning and preparedness in the U.S. tourism industry. In addition, the study examined the influence of organization/business resource allocation and past crisis experience with respect to communication procedures and planning criterion. Phone interviews with tourism leaders in the US from three key industry segments (Lodging, Attraction and Promotion) were conducted. The study was funded by the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

Florida CVB/TDC Tourism Crisis Plan Evaluation (2008)

The purpose of this study was to assess current tourism crisis management plans among Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) and Tourist Development Councils (TDCs) in Florida. The respective organizations were asked to provide their tourism crisis management plans to the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative via email or mail. In the state of Florida there are 67 counties, and 56 of these counties have a TDC or CVB. Comparative analysis was conducted to analyze each plan based on four stages (Reduction, Readiness, Response, and Recovery) of tourism crisis management. The study was funded by the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

First Annual UF Academic Think Tank (2008)

The Tourism Crisis Management Initiative held its first annual “Think Tank” in January 2008. The all-day session brought together Dean Dorman from the College of Health and Human Performance and 14 University of Florida faculties from Engineering, Food and Agricultural Sciences, Advertising, Geography, Building Construction, Geological Sciences, and Tourism departments. President Bernie Machen opened the meeting expressing his support of the vision and mission of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

The think-tank participants were asked to brainstorm about gaps in crisis management research that may affect tourism economies. The participants were divided into three groups and the brainstorming session was guided by a conceptual crisis model consisting of three crisis phases: Pre-crisis, during crisis, and post crisis (Faulkner, 2001).

Once the data was categorized using the crisis model, analysis of content and expert opinion was conducted. Five key themes emerged from the data:

1. Precise tourism crisis definitions and typologies
2. Tourism crisis communication
3. Tourism crisis assessment and mitigation of travel risk
4. Tourism crisis training and education
5. Tourism crisis recovery marketing and promotion

The meeting concluded with the identification of research questions directly associated with each of the above mentioned areas, which will provide the framework for the next phase of operations for the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.

FACVB Symposium (2008)

The public profile of the University of Florida’s Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (TCMI) was raised significantly with the first ever Tourism Crisis Management Symposium held June 25, 2008 in Gainesville, Florida, USA. TCMI partnered with the Florida Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus to develop a three-hour workshop aimed at assisting Florida’s key destination management organizations in the development of their tourism crisis management plans. Almost 100 representatives from CVB and TDC organizations around the state participated in this inaugural event.

The symposium brought together experts from the private and public sectors to respond to the following expressed needs:

  • What does a comprehensive crisis plan look like?
  • How do we create our organization’s plan?
  • How do we plan for our own employees and their needs while they help our community’s economy to recover from a disaster?
  • Can we develop tools to help each other if one area of Florida is affected and other areas are not?
  • How can Chambers work with their CVB/TDC to mitigate the sensationalism that is sometimes created by media?
  • How can the county CVB organizations work with VISIT FLORIDA to re-position the State following a disaster?
  • What are the training needs for crisis planning as it relates to the tourism industry?

The symposium provided an opportunity to learn about “best practices” being used in other countries; to share concerns, ideas, and solutions for planning, responding, and recovering from man-made and natural disasters. It also allowed the TCMI team to better understand the needs of destination management organizations in relation to crisis plan preparation, staff training, and public policy decision-making.