Doctor of Philosophy
School of Management, Operations and Marketing
Hajibaba, Homa, Essays on reducing vulnerability of tourism destinations to unpredictable crises, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of Management, Operations and Marketing, University of Wollongong, 2016. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4780
Tourism destinations are vulnerable to the occurrence of unpredictable critical events. Critical events range from natural to human-induced events and are increasing in number. Tourism destinations are vulnerable because unpredictable critical events cause drops in tourism demand. Drops in tourist numbers lead to loss of revenue for the affected destinations and negatively impact on tourism businesses and the local community. Therefore, developing strategies to reduce the vulnerability of tourism destinations to crises is critical.
Despite a growing body of work on tourism crisis management, little research has focused on developing marketing strategies towards developing resilience. Previous research introduces measures to strengthen tourists’ confidence to travel following a critical event. However, much of this work is descriptive in nature. The tourism crisis management literature highlights the importance of collaboration of different tourism stakeholders. Yet, no study has investigated involvement of residents in tourism crisis management.
The current PhD research consists of a number of studies. The first study proposes targeting tourists who are more resistant to crises as a proactive strategy to reduce crisis-vulnerability of tourism destinations. Results of the first study indicate that crisis resistant tourists exist and have distinct characteristics which can be used for targeting them. Results from a second study – which investigates the effectiveness of measures that destinations can take to prevent cancelations – show that the effectiveness of measures varies across different kinds of crises and tourists. In a third study, the potential of peer-to-peer networks to help out in times of a crisis hitting a tourist destination is investigated. Results indicate that residents of tourism destinations are willing to help in times of crisis by opening up their homes and accommodating tourists, especially in the initial emergency situation. There is also evidence of tourists being willing to accept such offers made by residents.
Overall it can be concluded from all studies conducted as part of this PhD that tourism destinations can adopt a range of strategies to protect themselves from demand drops following crises. The identified strategies have the potential to help tourism destinations to be more resilient. Targeting crisis-resistant tourists and shaping networks of supportive residents to help with the provision of effective prevention measures are strategies which can reduce and possibly prevent negative consequences of tourism crises.