The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) recently co-organized a working session with European countries to discuss crisis communications in tourism. The event was held in collaboration with Amadeus at UNWTO headquarters in Madrid.
One of the goals of the meeting was to advance crisis communications coordination and preparedness for all destinations.
“No nation on Earth is free from suffering a crisis and we should assume that crisis management has a highly relevant communications angle that can help diminishing the impact as well as to fasten the recovery process”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai during his intervention.
The meeting discussed crises of different types, ranking from natural disasters to political instability and health-related pandemics.
“Having a quick, transparent and credible support when the crisis occurs is part of that process”, Rifai added.
Attended by representatives from 13 countries, the session addressed how crises have a transversal impact, and how the perception and image of destinations are affected by them. Issues of strategic crisis communications, media relations and the use of big data were in focus.
“It is only by planning ahead, building relationships with media and learning how to properly communicate that destinations can be prepared to respond effectively to crisis situations and safeguard travel”, said Eduardo Santander, CEO of the European Travel Commission.
“It is true that there are challenges, and the tourism community has to work together to tackle them”, Santander added.
Moreover, UNWTO and ETC initiatives in the field of crisis communications were presented during the session. The UNWTO presented its Toolbox on Crisis Communications and the ETC introduced its European Tourism Crisis Communication Plan.