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Chapter 11 Future Proofing a Crisis

DOI: 10.23912/9781911635222-4746

ISBN: 9781911635222

Published: October 2020

Component type: chapter

Published in: International Tourism Futures

Parent DOI: 10.23912/9781911635222-4383



The nature of the international tourism industry makes it prone to crises. Its service characteristics together with the number of potential external threats considered beyond its control, contribute to its susceptibility and make the risks difficult to manage (Evans and Elphick, 2005; Santana, 2008; Pforr, 2009; Nian et al., 2019). Interruptions to services at the destination itself and within transit routes, as well as the (mis)perceptions of consumers in distant markets, contribute to an increased vulnerability to the short and longer term effects of a crisis The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) considers a crisis, in the context of the travel and tourism industry, as ‘any unexpected event that affects traveller confidence in a destination and interferes with the ability to continue operating normally’ (2011). The terms ‘crisis’ and ‘disaster’ are often used interchangeably within the literature although it may be argued a difference in meaning exists (Rindrasih et al., 2019). The scale and responsibility, or control factors within the causation of the event, appear to be the key elements used to distinguish the two terms. Faulkner (2001: 136), for example, makes the distinction between the two terms by defining a crisis as ‘a self-inflicted event caused by problems, such as inept management structures and practices or a failure to adapt to changes’; and a disaster as ‘a situation in which an enterprise (or group of enterprises) is confronted with sudden unpredictable and catastrophic changes over which it has little control’. Within a tourism context, Bierman (2016) makes the distinction of crises as being either Category 1 or 2. Category 1 crises are beyond the control of management and include natural disasters, acts of terrorism and war, crime, political conflicts and sudden economic downturns. Category 2 crises result from management’s failure to act or implement processes to prepare for or deal with predictable risks such as high staff turnover, lack of insurance in a situation of fire or flood, service and equipment failure, financial fraud and loss of data (Bierman, 2016). For the purpose of this chapter discussion, a definition adapted from Beirman (2003: 4) relating to a destination crisis will be used, primarily focused on the large-scale nature of the crisis events discussed, these being considered as Category 1, and beyond the control of destination’s management and tourism authorities

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Lade, Strickland, Frew, Willard, Osorio, Nagpal & Vitartas, 2020

Lade, C., Strickland, P., Frew, E., Willard, P., Osorio, S.C., Nagpal, S. & Vitartas, P. (2020) "Chapter 11 Future Proofing a Crisis" In: Lade, C., Strickland, P., Frew, E., Willard, P., Osorio, S.C., Nagpal, S. & Vitartas, P. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/9781911635222-4746


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