It's more than tourism: investigating integrated crisis management and recovery in tourist reliant destinations: case studies of Bali and Phuket

Gurtner, Yetta Karen (2014) It's more than tourism: investigating integrated crisis management and recovery in tourist reliant destinations: case studies of Bali and Phuket. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Since the turn of the century the global tourism industry has been impacted by an increasing and diverse range of external shocks including, terrorism, pandemics, earthquakes, civil unrest, tsunami, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and a global financial and economic downturn. As an industry that generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually through income revenues, employment, investment and infrastructure, there has been a growing interest in trying to develop more effective management strategies to prevent and/or mitigate the adverse effects of such events, particularly at the localised region or destination level. Central to this endeavour is appreciating the direct relationship between tourism, risk, and hazards, and recognising that the tourism industry is inherently susceptible to crises and disasters.

As a relatively recent area of research, existing literature on tourism crisis and disaster risk management reflects numerous definitions and academic approaches. Advocating the ideal of sustainable tourism development, discourse in development studies examines the broader historical, social, political, economic and environmental context of tourism development to better understand the dynamics of destination vulnerability and capacity. While disaster risk management is similarly premised in understanding the context, it elaborates on the functional phases of a disaster, promoting proactive hazard prevention and mitigation. Utilising this functional strategic management approach, scholars such as Faulkner (2001) and Ritchie (2004) have developed prescriptive crisis and disaster management frameworks specifically for the tourism industry.

Despite the incidence of crises and disasters continuing to affect entire tourist destinations and host communities, there have been limited attempts to synthesise key measures of destination vulnerability and sustainable development within the existing tourism disaster risk management modelling. Similarly, as disasters and crisis events are frequently detailed in autonomous linear models of specific duration, occurring in an identifiable time and space, it remains difficult to realise the complex diversity of additional factors and longer term issues that influence the outcome of management and recovery efforts. The advent of the Bali Bombings (October 2002, 2005) and South Asia Tsunami (26 December 2004) within communities characteristic of tourism dependency provided an opportunity to directly assess the value of a more holistic integrated approach to understanding tourism disaster management strategies and destination recovery.

Consistent with contemporary disaster management and tourism research, case studies are utilised as "a holistic empirical inquiry … to gain an in-depth understanding of a contemporary phenomenon in its real-life context, using multiple sources of evidence" (Beeton 2005:42). The longitudinal case studies in this treatise have been established in intensive fieldwork periods reviewing the full continuum of disaster management from response and recovery to prevention and preparedness. Fieldwork methods involved observation, participant observation and informal and semi-structured interviews with a diversity of individuals from key stakeholder groups. Supplementary and secondary data included photographs, official reports, print media, web material, journal articles and continued email correspondence with key informants. The significant data set collected was organised temporally to correspond and compare with the progressive linear phases or anatomy of a crisis/disaster as characterised in Faulkner's (2001) and Ritchie's (2004) tourism disaster management frameworks.

The synthesis of case study results demonstrates that linear tourism disaster management models focused specifically on the tourism industry are unable to appreciate or address the broader context of destination vulnerability and capacity for sustainable recovery. In the absence of integrated, proactive, participatory planning, recovery management efforts supported a return to the pre-crisis "normalcy" of tourism dependency rather than sustainable transformation aimed at disaster risk reduction. While conventional tourism statistics suggest gradual industry and destination recovery, conditions for many host community stakeholders including individuals, families, small and medium enterprises (SME) and members of the informal sector, remain tenuous. Recommendations for comprehensive disaster risk management and greater sustainability for tourist destinations are premised in a more holistic, integrated approach to crisis and disaster management encompassing: all hazards, all phases, all resources and all stakeholders. Additionally, in recognising the unique and dynamic nature of each destination and potential hazard, practical disaster management needs to be continuous, flexible, adaptable, and self-appreciating.

As an industry that is heavily reliant on public perceptions of safety, security and reputation, tourism will always be susceptible to crises and disaster. While impacts are experienced most significantly at the localised region or destination level, understanding the broader context of vulnerability and capacity is integral to the planning and implementation of more effective and sustainable tourism disaster risk management strategies. Although crises and disasters are inevitable, case studies of afflicted destinations facilitate industry and organisational learning to build better management capacity and mitigate adversity.

Item ID: 39048
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: tourism crisis management; tourist reliant destinations; Bali Bombings; 2004 tsunami Thailand; community based disaster recovery
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Gurtner, Yetta (2006) Understanding tourism crisis: case studies of Bali and Phuket. Tourism Review International, 10 (1). pp. 57-68.

King, David, and Gurtner, Yetta (2005) After the wave: a wake up warning for Australian coastal locations. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 20 (1). pp. 4-9.

Gurtner, Yetta (2004) After the Bali bombing: the long road to recovery. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 19 (4). pp. 56-66.

Gurtner, Yetta (2007) Tourism crisis: management and recovery in tourist-reliant destinations. In: King, David, and Cottrell, Alison, (eds.) Communities Living With Hazards. Centre for Disaster Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia, pp. 82-101.

Gurtner, Yetta K. (2007) Crisis in Bali: lessons in tourism recovery. In: Laws, Eric, Prideaux, Bruce, and Chon, Kaye, (eds.) Crisis Management in Tourism. CAB International, Oxon, UK, pp. 81-97.

Gurtner, Yetta K. (2007) Phuket: tsunami and tourism: a preliminary investigation. In: Laws, Eric, Prideaux, Bruce, and Chon, Kaye, (eds.) Crisis Management in Tourism. CAB International, Oxon, UK, pp. 217-233.

Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 02:31
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160402 Recreation, Leisure and Tourism Geography @ 25%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 75%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900301 Economic Issues in Tourism @ 40%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961099 Natural Hazards not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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