Destination Recovery Services

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Helping Tourism Destinations Prepare For, Act During, and Recover From Disaster

Destination Recovery

Recent history has revealed how vulnerable the tourism industry and the communities it supports are to disasters and crises. We have witnessed biological crises such as SARS, Foot and Mouth Disease, and bird flu, natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes, and terrorism attacks in Bali, New York, and other areas around the world. These types of events are not new phenomena for the tourism industry; however, they seem to be occurring more frequently. Over the past half decade, managers in the tourism industry have been forced to face the fact that no destination is immune from the possibility of a disaster or crisis.

Destination recovery is taken to mean the suite of activities associated with restoring a destination to its pre-event level of arrivals and state of vibrancy, which encompasses not only physical rebuilding, but also the restoration of the destination’s image in the minds of consumers.

“Tourism destinations in every corner of the globe face the virtual certainty of experiencing a disaster of one form or another at some point in their history. Despite this, few destinations have properly developed disaster management plans in place to help them cope with such eventualities. Among the reasons for this is the limited amount of systematic research that has been carried out in the field.” Faulkner (2001, p.35)

Destination Recovery Services is the product of a Master's Thesis completed at the University of Washington in 2006, titled, "Destination Recovery: a case study of Thailand’s Andaman Destinations in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami." Destination Recovery Services helps tourism destinations prepare for and recover from natural and man-made disasters and crises.

Conceptual Framework

Model of a Tourism System Tourism systems have often been thought of in terms of hosts and guests or locals and tourists, a polarizing, often divisive, ‘us and them’ approach to what is actually a much more complex system.  Miller and Auyong offer a three-category model of a tourist system, the Broker-Local-Tourist model, which is an integral part of the conceptual framework for understanding destination recovery.  More...

The Disaster Lifecycle In order to more closely examine the lifecycle of a disaster, researchers such as Faulkner, Fink, Roberts, Ritchie, and Henderson have outlined different stages of a disaster. Faulkner provides six stages of a disaster lifecycle.  The first stage Faulkner identifies is the Pre-event stage, which seems self-evident and is the period when planning and preparation are to be done.  More...

Destination Lifecycle Model Like most products, destinations have a lifecycle.  In his often-cited 1980 article, Butler proposed a model of the tourist area lifecycle.  The basic idea of what has become the seminal model in tourism destination evolution is that a destination begins as a relatively unknown and visitors initially come in small numbers restricted by lack of access, facilities, and local knowledge   More...

The Role of the Media in Destination Recovery The media plays a very important role in informing the public of disasters and disseminating warnings; ultimately, the role the media plays is critical in determining the longevity of the economic impacts of a disaster.  Unfortunately, the suffering and mortality caused by a disaster are considered much more newsworthy than are the recovery and redevelopment updates. More...

Disaster or Crisis in a Destination There are a wide range of impacts on communities from disasters, ranging from minimal damage to a total collapse of infrastructure.  Faulkner (2001) identified the following categories: “communities which have not suffered and therefore have the capacity to support others which have; communities which escape with only limited loss of life and property, where community systems remain largely intact and normal built-in elasticity of resources permits self-recovery; communities that sustain so much damage that they can only recover with outside help. More...

Tourists who will come after a Disaster There exists a specific species of tourist whose interest is to assist people in the destination they are traveling to.  There are a number of variations of this type of tourist; some may be instrumentally oriented, possessing a set of professional skills, such as doctors, optometrists, dentists, engineers, etc.  There is also a variation of the Humanitarian Tourist, which does not necessarily possess a specific set of professional skills needed by their destination, but who are still able to assist locals by helping with cleanup, rebuilding, or simply traveling to a destination to contribute to the local economy. More...

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