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An Investigation of crisis management strategies utilised by Australian based tour operators in response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)

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posted on 2023-01-19, 09:31 authored by Jessica Leanne Derham
Abstract: This study evaluated the effectiveness of both Faulkner and Vikulov's (2001) Tourism Disaster Management Framework (TDMF) and Ritchie's Crisis Disaster Management Framework (CDMF).It assessed and adapted both frameworks, and applied them to Australian based tour operators in the context of the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004). Both frameworks propose six phases of crisis management: Pre Event; Prodromal; Emergency; Intermediate; Long-term recovery; and Resolution. Research to date has suggested Faulkner's framework requires further testing and analysis of specific crisis such as natural disasters. This relates directly to the continued need for the tourism industry to understand and apply the optimal approach to dealing with a crisis, an understanding of which is still lacking. Although significant research has been completed in the field of crisis management for destinations, limited research has focused on tour operators. This study focused on tour operators as a specific sector of the industry, and aimed to identify what form of crisis management strategies were utilised during a large scale natural disaster. To successfully identify these management strategies, 24 specific questions were developed adapting Faulkner's Tourism Disaster Accident Response Grid. This response grid originated from the research completed by Faulkner and Vikulov on the Katherine Floods in 2001. The questions explored all six phases of the framework which considered crisis management responses and strategies in detail. These included Risk Assessment, Disaster Contingency Plans, Crisis Communication and Stakeholder Management, all key attributes explored in depth in the study. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with a selection of Australian based Tour operators. These operators were identified as conducting tours in one or more of the affected regions of the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004). The use of Faulkner and Vikulov's (2001) and Ritchie’s (2004) frameworks permitted an exploration of the challenges, actions and strategies employed by these operators. The results from these interviews identified a range of recommendations for tour operators, who were found to be deficient in appropriate crisis management measures. Of these recommendations, one of the key suggestions was for tour operators to develop a formal crisis management plan and complete a risk assessment on the destinations where tours are offered. This should consider a variety of different types of crisis, as each requires a different response and management approach.

Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business to the Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe Universdity, Bundoora.


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Faculty of Law and Management. School of Management.

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  • Masters

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La Trobe University

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