Question 1a. Giving appropriate examples and using your own words, differentiate between risk and crisis as used in the hospitality and tourism discipline.
In the tourism industry, risk and crisis are two distinct but interrelated terms. Risk refers to the possibility that of the occurrence of potential threats, thus the need to employ the needed pro-active solution to lessen or eliminate it. Accordingly, because of the dangers associated with risks in the industry, there is a great need to ascertain the likelihood of its occurrence and ways on how to manage such risk. An example of risk in the tourism and hospitality sector are those that are associated with the safety of the visitors and staffs, such as the possibility that acts of terrorism are to be staged in an area.
On the other hand, crisis denotes a situation that can possibly occur and can have a negative effect on people being assured to trust and continually associate with the business, thus affecting the overall operation of the organization. Crises are undesirable and unexpected occurrences that require direct and speedy attention from management in order to minimize the possible damage to the business. Nevertheless, while crises are said to be unpredictable, there are identifiable ways to positively respond to them. An example of crisis that any organization should be prepared for are the possible occurrence of political disorder, crime-related events as well as natural disasters in a locality.
b. ) Do you agree with Ritchie (2009: 25) assertion – see Introduction Section above?
- Why do you agree or/and disagree?
I agree with Ritchie’s assertion about tourism managers and destinations embracing crisis and disasters as part of the system of the industry. While the tourism and hospitality industry is considered to be one among the main source of social and economic development worldwide, there is also the possibility that disasters may occur and this can disrupt the normal course of business operations. For example, the SARS panic sometime in 2003 was one among the cause of stunted economic growth in affected regions. This virus scare is just one among the disasters that can possibly happen to which the tourism industry are vulnerable. In order to reduce such vulnerability, management should accept the fact that unpredictable disasters may happen and they should always be prepared to reduce its negative effect.
As Richie suggested, it should become a part of the management to understand the nature of different crisis and disasters and effectively plan to counter its negative effects. The importance of adopting disaster plans and strategies should be an integral part of any business, particularly those that operate under the tourism and hospitality industry. Based on past experiences, the need for disaster preparation cannot be neglected and management should adopt it as an ongoing process of their operation. Crisis and disaster preparedness, just like any other key part of the business operation, should be regarded as an important aspect of the business process. While it may not deter the occurrence of crisis, the business is at least prepared to minimize the damage.
Impact of Puyehue Volcanic Eruption
The tourism and hospitality industry is one among the helpful support in the development of a country’s economy. However, man-made and natural catastrophes can do so much to impend such development due to massive losses, destruction and the financial woes brought about by disasters. An example of a natural disaster that greatly impacted the tourism sector is the 2011 eruption of the Puyehue Volcano in Chile that lasted for several months. The tourism industry, which is considered to be Chile’s major source of economic development, was severely affected due to the impact of the volcanic eruption to the transportation, environment and the agricultural sector of the country. This paper aims to discuss the impact of the long-lasting volcanic outburst of Puyehue to the tourism industry of the country.
Transportation and Tourism
The transportation sector is one among the key elements that support the continuous flow of local and international visitors in a region. Accordingly, the eruption of Puyehue in Chile disrupted the normal course of transportation operation, thus negatively affecting the movement of people (Ritchie and Campiranon, 175). The eruption that started in 2011 and lasted through 2012 resulted in the cancellation of airport operations, not only in Chile airports but also in the neighboring countries. The circumnavigation of volcanic ashes resulted in the danger in the air transportation, thus the need for the temporary cancellation of the airport operation. For instance, flights in the Bariloche airport located in Argentina were cancelled due to the volcanic activity and has only resumed operation in the following year (Elissondo et al, 5393). Other airports in Chile, such as Santiago de Chile followed closure which eventually affected other airport services to other regions. Further, land transportation and navigation were also affected due to accumulated ashes in major roads that link important regions in the country. Patagonia, which is a tourist destination that is shared by Argentina and Chile reported a decrease in the number of tourists during the course of the volcanic activity.
Environment and Tourism
The devastating impact of the Puyehue eruption was not only limited to the transportation sector. For one, the damage to the environment within Chile and its neighboring regions has resulted in the weakening of the tourism industry. Chile is known for its different ski resorts, but the damaged to these infrastructures resulted in their closure for several months due the large amount and continuous accumulation of ashes. In addition to that, there is a substantial effect of the volcanic spew on human and animal health as determined by health experts. The severe dangers of exposure to the volcanic ash inhibited tourists from visiting the region.
Moreover, due to the damage to the environment and different infrastructures, the communication lines in Chile were also affected. The disrupted mode of communication makes the tourist destination in the country less attractive to tourist who wanted to spend good times in its popular tourist destinations. According to reports, about 80% of tourist who booked their reservation in hotels near Bariloche Ski resorts prior to the eruption were cancelled (Elissondo et al, 5395). Accordingly, due to the weakening of the tourism and hospitality industry, many small businesses were forced to close, resulting in the job displacement of many Chileans in the process (Dewast).
Agricultural Sector and Tourism
The negative impact of the volcanic eruption in the agricultural sector has also affected the tourism industry in Chile in many ways. It is to be noted that sport fishing is one of the diverse tourist attractions in Chile, and the accretion of ashes in lake and other bodies of water leads to their inaccessibility. It was also reported that millions of fish were killed in the country’s famous lakes due to poisoning brought about by the ashes.
Furthermore, the agricultural sector is likewise affected by the volcanic eruption. There are impacts on the health of livestocks as well as farming practices that would later require the rehabilitation of the farmland (Wilson et al, 1). Certainly, Chile is also known for its agricultural lands and one of the tourist attractions in this country is its valleys which are rich in agricultural value. For instance, the vast vineyards in the valleys are one of the favorite attractions among tourists where they will not only have a glimpse of the plantation but also of the wine cellars. The attraction of these places was destroyed by the fierce eruption of Puyehue, and has considerably hurt the tourism industry.
The eruption of the Puyehue volcano in Chile resulted in a devastating effect in diverse sectors, that has further affected the tourism and hospitality industry. The threat to the tourism industry started with the temporary closure of the country’s major airports, thus disrupting the normal course of tourist inflow. The devastation was not only limited to the land and air transportation as the volcanic ashes also posed hazards to health which lessened the arrival of tourists in the region. Famous tourist destinations have to close due to economic decline, and this was felt in the country for several months following the eruption. Accordingly, the tourism and hospitality industry is considered to be the major sustenance of most countries, and the occurrence of events such as the Puyehue eruptions and other disasters can bring havoc to the industry as a whole. There is therefore a need for these industries to brace themselves in order to survive after the occurrence of uncalled circumstances.
Dewast, L. (2011). Volcanic eruptions wounds Patagonia. Retrieved from http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/newsfromargentina/volcanic-eruption-wounds-patagonia/
Ellisondo, M., Baumann, V., Bonadonna, C., Pistolesi, M., Cioni, R., Bertagnini, A., & Biass, S. (2015). Chronology and impact of the 2011 Puyehue-Cordon Caulle eruption, Chile. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 5383-5452.
Ritchie, B., & Campiranon, K. (2014). Tourism crisis and disaster management in the Asia-Pacific. CABI.
Wilson, T., Stewart, C., Bickerton, H., Baxter, P., Outes, V., Villarosa, G., & Rovere, E. (2013). Impacts of the June 2011 Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex eruption on urban infrastructure, agriculture and public health. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited.