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All posts tagged tourism resilience

Credit: GLP Films

We’ve all seen it, a destination experiences a tragedy – natural disasters, war, economic problems… Then, global media outlets start to spread the word, bookings decrease and tourism drops dramatically. Negative and/or inaccurate press about the state of tourism economy in a destination can be a challenging uphill battle. However, marketing can very quickly provide solutions to change global traveler perceptions and help market that a destination is “open for business”.

So, how can you quickly and effectively get the message out to the global travel community that a destination is still “open for business” even if it is still a state of recovery? The key to changing perceptions is a strategic distribution plan driven by story-driven content marketing.

Read the full article on marketing resiliency here.

By Laura Knudson & Hilary Lewkowitz for GLP Films.

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By Dr. Peter Tarlow from Tourism & More

 

Credit: Tourism & More Inc.

 

TOURISM & MORE’S

 

“TOURISM TIDBITS”

June 2017

Some of the Best Practices in Tourism Security, Risk Management and Crisis Recovery, Part 1

 

This June we shall be holding the 23rd Annual Las Vegas International Tourism Safety and Security conference and in honor of our conference, this month’s Tourism Tidbits focuses on issuesT of security and safety. 

Although the public, media, and politicians expect continuous 100% safety and security, reality is that total security does not exist.  What is true of the non-tourism and travel world is even more so in the world of travel and tourism. Not only are tourism and traveling security problems often more challenging, but the traveling public can also easily be frightened, and in the case of leisure travel decide simply not to visit a specific locale.  Furthermore, many tourism professionals are frighten by the topic and provide more lip service to the subject than real substance.

To help you think through some of the issues and finds methods to confront these ever changing challenges, Tourism Tidbits presents you with the following ideas for your consideration: 

-Never forget that all travel security and safety begins with a sense of hospitality and caring.  Customer service is the foundation of any security program. Employees need to remember that they should not treat others in a way that they would not want others to treat them.  Customers are not the enemy; they are the industry’s raison d’être.  From the moment a traveler leaves his/her home until the moment that s/he returns the industry needs to project an image of we care, of creating an environment in which customers know that they are not prisoners or cattle but respected guests.

-Understand that in most cases (drugs being a major exception) acts of crime and acts of terrorism are different.  It is rare that poverty is a root cause of either crime or terrorism, and the two social illnesses have a very different interaction with tourism.  Crime has a parasitic relationship with tourism that is to say if there is no tourism then there is no tourism crime.  Although, terrorists may use crime as a means to fund their projects, their ultimate goal is the destruction of tourism and the economic prosperity that it produces around the world.

 
-The most effective security is proactive rather than reactive. This means find ways to layer your security and be aware of where the security weaknesses may be.  Know your property layout and remember that there are no 100% safe places in any building Use combinations of a physical security presence plus technology, such as surveillance, makes sure all your bases are covered. 


-Know local laws!  Hoteliers must know their responsibilities for security within local laws and regulations. Knowing whether issues would result in criminal or civil liabilities can influence security protocols.  Be aware of terror trends: Not every attack is the same.  Over the past several years, many terror events have “evolved to be locally inspired or involve locally trained citizens”.  The newest “trends” in attacks against hotels are small-scale, high-body-count attacks that draw global media attention. Nevertheless, do not forget that terrorism is ever changing and what is true this year may be different next year.

-Partner Simple partnerships with local law enforcement are an easy, low-cost way to keep security top of mind. Invite your local police to spend a night in the hotel or have dinner there.  The better the police understand the property’s security and emergency protocols and see the capabilities, the faster they can react in case of an emergency or advise you on simple solutions as to ways to stop and attack before it occurs. Ask your police department to educate hotel staff on what their own capabilities are and what emergencies they can and cannot handle.  Then develop a formal plan with the local police department and be sure that they have a copy of the plan

-Tourism security does not exist in a vacuum.  That means that tourism security is part of the overall local environment.  If a particular city is not safe, then eventually that insecurity will impact the local hotels, attractions and transportation systems.  What that means is that the tourism industry needs not only to ask for protection but also that it needs to work with local community leaders to bring down the overall crime rates.  For example, communicate with local organizations that seek to lower crime rates.  The bottom line is that what takes place outside of the hotel impacts what occurs inside of the hotel. Regular meetings between government officials, tourism officials, and local managers can save time and lives, and it can reduce from what might have been a major incident into a minor one.   In today’s world security not only adds to the bottom line, it can be a major marketing tool.


-Have multiple plans in place prior to an event and not after the event.  In cases of crises, crisis management is essential, but tourism and travel officials need to ask themselves if the crisis might have been lessened in its severity or even avoided if they had had good proactive risk management plans.  Crises come in all sorts of sizes.  A terrorism attack is a crisis on a large scale, but there are a million small inconveniences that government regulators have imposed on tourism that have created a sense of continual mini-crises.  When tourists need to factor terrorism hassles into their travel plans, many people may choose other methods of communication, leaving the industry in a business crisis. The bottom line is that many small personal crises may produce large industry crises.

-In an age of insecurity tourism officials must make sure that their security agents are not only well trained in every aspect of security including the customs and cultural habits of their customers, but also well paid.  For example, some cultures tend to be more trusting than others and different cultures may have distinct patterns for what is acceptable or not for female guests. It is essential that tourism management develop security patterns that meet not only the local environment but also meet the cultural needs of their guests. In a business climate as unstable as the current one, it is essential that security personnel be the best, that they receive regular news updates, and be able to act not only quickly, but in a caring and professional manner with travelers.  It does no good to have people well trained and then leave the field because of low pay.

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A special reminder: The XXIV International Las Vegas Tourism Security and Safety Conference is June 12-14.  To register please visit: www.touristsafety.org

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Logo from Tourism & More, Inc.

From Tourism & More, Inc.

May 2017

We only have to see photos of people praying in Mecca, visiting the Vatican, washing in the Ganges, or attending a religious festival at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to know that both religion and religious pilgrimages play a major role in tourism.  Religious tourism even bleeds into the world of “secular faith” as proven by the millions of people each year who make a “pilgrimage” to places such as Washington, DC or treat their favorite football team almost as if it were a religious icon

People in the world of tourism should not be surprised by this phenomenon.  Faith based visitations speak directly to the emotions and tourism is all about the “experience” of being there. Although we do not like to think of religion as being connected to business, the reality is that religion is a major business and with a great deal impact for on the tourism industry.  In fact, there is much that tourism professionals can learn from the world of religion and how religion speaks to the very soul of its adherents.

One of the oldest forms of tourism is religious or faith based tourism.  The Bible speaks of ascending to Jerusalem at least three times a years for each of the Biblical harvest festivals.  Likewise the Islamic world is famous for the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. Other cities around the world have developed religious tourism.  People from around the world visit locations such as:  Fatima in Portugal, and Lourdes in France.

Although there are many differences between travel by the faithful to a religious site and a theme park, interestingly enough there are also many parallels between what would appear to be two very different venues.  For example, in modern (and from what we can learn from ancient texts, also in the ancient world) both religious sites and theme parks produce secondary industries.  We only have to visit Rome or Jerusalem to see hundreds of people selling religious souvenirs.  Just as in the days of the Bible, the lodging industry is impacted by religious tourism and in many places lodging grows around a particular pilgrimage site.  Just as in the world of tourism, religious tourism is aimed at a particular audience, in this case, the believer, whose faith turns what might be for a non-believer the secular into the sacred.

Visiting a religious site is an exercise in emotion rather than cognition.  The site may not be beautiful or grandiose but in the eye of the believer such a site is both spiritual and memorable. Religious or faith-based tourism, however, is not only about pilgrimages. Faith based travel may take place for life cycle events, for missionary work, for reasons of humanitarian interest and/or as part of religious conventions and conclaves.

Religious tourism is big business.  It is estimated that in the US alone some 25% of the traveling public is interested in faith-based tourism. When one adds to this the number of people who travel for faith-based conventions, and faith based activities such as weddings, bar mitzvahs or funerals, the number become extraordinarily large. World Religious Travel is one of the fastest growing segments in travel today. Religious travel is estimated at a value of US$18 billion and 300 million travelers strong.  Religious tourism sites bring in considerable revenue.

To help you deal with this growing travel trend.  Here are some essentials to help the busy travel and tourism professional.

 

  • While a recent study tourism does not have to be built around a pilgrimage site. There is no doubt that it helps to have a major religious center, such as Jerusalem, Mecca, or Rome most locales will never have such holy sites.  Lack of a religious center does not mean however that a location cannot develop faith-based tourism.  Florida has created its own Bible land, and multiple cities around the world have found ways to incorporate religious holidays into their tourism product.

 

  • A locale does not need to have a major religious site to be part of religious tourism. Religious tourism is anything that touches the visitor’s soul.  Take an inventory of your local houses of worship and you may discover that they contain not only great items of beauty but are the holders of personal histories and culture.  In a world where people seek both personal genealogies and an understanding of who they are, both local houses of worship and cemeteries may provide a whole new travel experience, that adds not only to your community’s bottom line but provides in-depth experiences.

 

  • Take care of the physical appearance and condition of your religious sites. Emphasis on maintaining sustained tourism with minimal corrosive impact on old and sacred structures and places of worship is imperative. Religion has an enormous sentimental value. The devotees and tourist having a thirst for holy voyages would certainly love to see their religious destination and places of worship well preserved touching the acceptable standards of cleanliness and existence of infrastructural support.

 

  • Religious travel is often less prone to economic ups and downs in the market place. Religious travelers also tend to panic less during periods of political turbulence.  Because faith-based travelers are committed travelers they tend to save for these religious experiences and travel despite the state of the economy or political challenges.

 

  • Faith travelers tend to have different motives for travel then do travelers for other reasons and tend to fear less. For example, faith-based travelers often travel as part of a religious obligation or to fulfill a spiritual mission.  Because faith base travelers tend to be more steadfast in their desire to fulfill what they see as a commitment they can provide a steady flow of income to a local tourism economy.

 

  • The religious and faith-based market have the advantage of appealing to people from around the world, of all ages and of all nationalities. Tourism and travel professionals should be aware that this market might well double by the year 2020.  To add to this number many faith-based travelers prefer to travel in groups rather than as individuals.

 

  • Be Religiously aware!  This means that tourism professionals should consider everything from the types of food served, types of music played to when local activities take place.  As in other forms of tourism it is essential to know the market. For example, airlines that do not offer vegetarian meals may lose a portion of the faith-based market whose religion has specific food restrictions.

 

  • Connect your local secondary industries with your faith-based tourism.  All too often the spirituality that visitors seek is lost at the level of supporting industries.  During faith based tourism periods it is essential that hotels and restaurants connect with the arts and cultural communities to develop an overall faith based product rather than a mishmash of unrelated offerings.
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Logo from Tourism & More, Inc.

 

 

 

As of the writing of this article, Europe continues to have multiple terrorism attacks.  Tourism & More sends its prayers to all those who are victims of terrorism

No matter in what area of tourism you may be, the simple fact is that tourism is a customer-oriented business.  Without customer service, not only your marketing will eventually fail, but also the business’ viability will be in question. Good service is to tourism what oxygen is to the body. It is the lifeblood of how the industry works.Providing good customer service is often a challenge. Tourism, Many of the frontline positions tend to receive only entry-level pay. The hours are long and neither the financial nor social-psychological awards are great.   Often customers take out their frustration on these very people, even when the frontline person can do nothing or has no decision-making authority.  Thus, the people who often have the least amount of authority are often the most abused and at times most frustrated.

One of the results of these problems is that often frontline positions have a high rate of tur  The lack of training then results in poorer customer service that produces a downward spiral.

Often employers present customer service skills as a necessary part of the job or something that employees simply have to do.  Additionally, and all too often, frontline personnel in tourism are not treated as professionals and this lack of professionalism is then reflected in their attitude toward our customers.

The French have a saying: “Tout c’est dans la presentation/everything depends on how you market it”.  That statement also holds true for customer service. If we present the training as merely customer service, that often produces a “so what” attitude.  If, on the other hand, we present the same training as “life skill enhancement” then the value of what we teach goes far beyond that of a frontline tourism professional.

Change for-the-job training to life skills and we may succeed in changing the attitude of some of our more problematic employees.   When we present this training as a professionalization process used to empower our frontline personnel to make decisions that impacts the way a guest is treated, we are on the road not only to better customer service but also to happier employees.  To help you implement these attitudinal changes Tourism Tidbits suggests considering some of the following principles:

 

– Remind our frontline personnel that in life just as in tourism the key to winning over difficult people is to exhibit: Empathy, coupled with patience. Most people in life can accept that things do go wrong, but what they cannot accept is an attitude that states: “I could care less.” Hospitality is based on caring.  Work with your personnel to exhibit a healthy questioning attitude.  When we involve ourselves in the other person’s problems, we turn anger into an experience and we become our customer’s host rather than a mere employee.  Be careful not to confuse empathy with sympathy. Good customer service is always empathetic but never sympathetic.  In a like manner remember that visitors are in a new environment and often feel lost. Patience and the ability to state the same fact two or three times is a life skill that goes a long way toward personal success.

– Teach Crises come about when we have a tourism breakdown and we refuse to adapt to a new situation. Things do happen, planes arrive late, hotel rooms may not be ready, food may be served too cold or too hot.  Learning how to adapt to new situations is essential not only in tourism but also in life.  This need for adaptability means that have to allow our frontline people to make rapid decisions.  Chains of command rarely work in life and almost never in tourism.

– Just as in life remind your front line personnel that every customer is different and almost every situation is unique.  Often in life we become jaded and take the position that we have heard it all before.  In tourism, as is the case in most things in life, people want to be taken seriously, want to be heard and want to believe that their case is being handled in a unique and special format.   That means that we must learn to listen attentively and be sure that the other person understands that we are hearing their issue.  Remember that hearing an issue does not mean agreeing with it, but it does mean that we recognize the emotions of the other person.

– Communicate in a clear and calm manner.  Often problems arise when we do not say what we mean.  Avoid pronouns.  Make sure that you use clear and precise language.  Try to stay on topic and do not allow telephone calls to interfere with your problem solving.  It is essential to remind frontline people that most customers want a problem solved quickly and efficiently. They are not seeking friendships but rather solutions. In today’s world of hypersensitivity use words carefully and a joke can easily be perceived as an insult.

– Be Knowledge. One of the worst things that a frontline employee can do is provide false information.  A good rule of life is if you do not have an answer, do not create an answer just so that you can look smart of efficient.  On the other side of the equation, it is essential for management to provide frontline personnel with as much up-to-date and accurate information as possible.

All of us need to have a thicker skin and remember that a job is only a job.  In tourism as in life all of us will need to confront situations outside of our control (remember with the exception of natural complainers, that our guests are speaking to us because they have had a terrible day). This is where empathy comes into play and we remember that we have the power to turn someone’s awful day into a wonderful day.

 

 

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Drought-hit central western Queensland communities look to build resilient future

November 24 2015 – Despite unprecedented drought across a vast area of outback Queensland, a group of local councils has embarked on a long-term planning project aimed at building resilient communities to withstand future dry times and economic challenges. Chrissy Arthur Read more.

Source: World Economic Forum (WEF):

This last use case from the Global Agenda Council on Risk and Resilience highlights tangible examples from Nepal of where multi-stakeholder partnerships between the public and private sectors and civil society organisations made a difference, and where they could be scaled up to be more effective in future.

Building resilience in Nepal through public-private partnerships

The report offers the following key observations based on the analysis of the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015:

  • Resilience is a social and political issue as much as an economic and developmental one. Efforts to “build back better” must also incorporate support for Nepal’s political transition as a foundation for resilience;
  • Strengthening pre-established partnerships between the public and private sectors can improve responses to and reduce the impacts of future emergencies;
  • Crucial economic sectors, such as tourism and construction, can benefit from public-private cooperation for recovery and reconstruction;
  • Implementing and enforcing building codes and focusing on making schools safe should be a high priority in reconstruction efforts;
  • Retrofitting to make existing houses more “earthquake-resilient” can save lives and reduce economic losses,and can be done in an affordable way that uses locally available skills and technologies;
  • The private sector can offer unique expertise, capability and capacity for the Nepali government’s reconstruction efforts;
  • Public-private partnerships and innovative financing arrangements can be crucial parts of reconstruction and building resilience in Nepal.
Download PDF here
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November 08 2015 – Long before I arrive in Haiti I get a sense of what the name itself conjures up. There are no direct flights from the UK, so I’ve flown in via the Dominican Republic, Haiti’s conjoined twin on the island of Hispaniola. Kevin Rushby Read more.

November 08 2015 – Her laptop brims with satellite images pitted with thousands of black dots, evidence of excavations across Egypt where looters have tunneled in search of mummies, jewelry and other valuables prized by collectors, advertised in auction catalogs and trafficked on eBay, a criminal global black market estimated in the billions of dollars. 

October 21 2015 – Following the earthquake that struck Nepal earlier this year, many in the country’s tourism industry, supported by friends and colleagues from around the world, began to collaborate on ideas and solutions for how to get its tourism industry back on its feet as quickly as possible. Jeremy Smith Read more.