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Risk And Crisis Management In Tourism Industry

3545 words - 14 pages

Although in the new millennium the tourism industry is growing, the first four years have experienced tragic incidents. People still have in their memories the terrors of 11th September 2001, in New York, Washington D.C and Pennsylvania (Han, 2005). Additionally, as the same author states (2005, p.2), in 2003"… international travel in the Asia-Pacific region was devastated by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the Iraqi War"In the year 2004, the catastrophic tsunami affected many South Asian countries also having a negative influence on the tourism industry (Han, 2005). Despite some reports affirming that there will be recovery of tourism in these regions (WTO, 2005), all the tragic events that happened in the first years of the new millennium "… have negatively affected individuals perceived risk of international travel" (Han, 2005, p.2).The concept of perceived risk was introduced in the 60s by Bauer within the context of consumer behaviour (Dolnicar, 2005). This concept is not specifically constructed for tourism, but can be applicable to other economic activities (Dolnicar, 2005).Following Schiffman & Kanuk´s (2000, cited in Han, 2005, p.13) statement, the perceived risk has two relevant aspects: uncertainty and consequences. These authors define perceived risk as"… the uncertainty that consumers face when they cannot foresee the consequences of their purchase decisions"As Dolnicar (2005) states, the level of perceived risk is different for each destination, as well as for each sub-segment of tourists. The understanding of this may be a good basis to make an optimisation of the "… marketing communication messages to address tourists concerns more effectively" (Dolnicar, 2005, p.197).There are perceived risks that have negative connotations and another kind of perceived risks, understood in a positive way which is sought deliberately by tourists, that is "… sensation-seeking behaviour …" (Dolnicar, 2005, p.197).Additionally, Han (2005) affirms that the perceived risk influences the kind of chosen holidays. When individuals interpret a higher perceived risk, they prefer to choose package holidays instead of independent travel because they feel safer. The driver for the choosing of package holidays by tourists may be that nowadays, following Wilks & Pages (2003, p.10) statement, tour operators have seen themselves forced to critically appraise the risk environment due to "… legal challenges and (…) the global insurance crisis", as well as the tragic events in the first years of this millennium -terrorist attacks of 11th September, the tsunami or the SARS virus-, so due to this, tour operators have to adopt health and safety practices, which guarantee to customers more safety than travelling independently.As Wilks & Page (2003, p.4) state, potential risks for visitors in a destination may be due to the human and institutional environment, such as common delinquency;...

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