Major events, natural disasters, and accidents in tourist destinations: How do German tourist centers and federations communicate in such crisis situations? A publication from the faculties for Sport, Media, and Event at the University of Applied Sciences Europe Campus Iserlohn examines the tasks surrounding crisis management and communication in tourist destinations. This topic was met with great interest by industry visitors and exhibitors at the RDA Group Travel Expo at the Koelnmesse in July 2018.
Silke Hahn, Lecturer for Corporate Communication and PR, conducted expert interviews as a co-editor of the book “Crisis Communication in Tourism Organizations”, and the key message that emerged was the current special sensitivity of potentially heightened threats of terrorist acts. However, this was not the only issue: “Natural disasters, climatic fluctuations, as well as negative behavior by people or tourist partners also emerge as potential flash points. Right-wing extremism is also a highly sensitive issue perceived as a crisis, particularly by international guests,” according to Hahn.
Generally speaking, reacting quickly, precisely, and above all credibly before and during a crisis is crucial. How do tourism professionals prepare for such eventualities? A survey among German tourism organizations conducted as part of the research for the publication showed the following: 57% of those responsible stated that they count on early identification of trouble by the whole team, while around 38% stated that they fall back on the support of umbrella organizations. Only around 30% have set up their own crisis unit. 56%, thus a majority of respondents, have so far not set up crisis prevention measures, stating “Not yet, but it would be important to do so.”
Which media mix supports tourism professionals in their work at the destinations? How can crisis management and communication work in the prevention and intervention phases? Beyond surveys and expert interviews, the publication provides recommended courses of action by academics, communications specialists, media representatives, and managers of large German tourism centers.
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You can find more information abou the book right here!