The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) have co-organised a working session with European countries to discuss crisis communications in tourism. The event was held at UNWTO headquarters in Madrid.
One of the goals of the meeting was to advance crisis communications coordination and preparedness for all destinations. The meeting discussed crises of different types, ranking from natural disasters to political instability and health-related pandemics.
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.
“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. Having a quick, transparent and credible support when the crisis occurs is part of that process,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai during his intervention.
“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. It is true that there are challenges, and the tourism community has to work together to tackle them”, said Eduardo Santander, CEO of the European Travel Commission.
UNWTO initiatives in the field of Crisis Communications, such as the Executive Training on this theme and the Toolbox on Crisis Communications, were presented during the session.