Linking tourism into emergency management structures to enhance disaster risk reduction
Despite increased global interest in the impacts of natural disasters on tourism, little research has occurred into exploring how these are addressed at the destination level. Creating a link between tourism and disaster risk reduction and management is particularly important in places that rely heavily on tourism and, at the same time, are prone to natural hazards. New Zealand is a good example. Hence, in this paper we use the case study of the Northland region to explore how both tourism and disaster management stakeholders perceive the role of tourism in present and future disaster risk management activities. The overall finding is that tourism in Northland is currently poorly considered in existing disaster management planning, and recent natural disasters have identified a range of gaps and concerns within each of the Four Rs (Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery). Based on these insights, and building on the current Civil Defence structure, a template for linking tourism into disaster management is proposed and populated. A Tourism Action Plan, adopted by the Northland 'Tourism Cluster', provides a guideline for tourism specific initiatives that complement the existing Civil Defence plans, thus adding value to the formal disaster management efforts. Considering the lack of systematic disaster management in tourism reported in the literature, this research should also be of interest to other tourist destinations and their aspirations for long term sustainability.