A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. Hence it can be defined as a crisis situation causing wide spread damage which far exceeds our ability to recover. Thus, by definition, there cannot be a perfect ideal system that prevents damage, because then it would not be a disaster. It has to suffocate our ability to recover. Only then it can be called as disaster. Disasters are mainly of 2 broad types,
1. Natural disasters; include climatic disasters e.g. hurricanes, floods & droughts; and geological disasters e.g. volcanoes and earthquakes. 2. Man-made disasters; Examples – war, bomb blasts, chemical leaks, etc.
Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited. Tourism has proven to be a pillar of economic development for many regions around the world. In 2003, tourism was the largest business sector in the world economy, employing 200 million people, generating 3.6 trillion in economic activity and accounting for 1 in every 12 or 8% of jobs worldwide.
THE VULNERABLE NATURE OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY TO DIFFERENT DISASTER TRIGGERS
The vulnerability of tourism to risk, crisis and disaster has long been evident (Sharpley, 2005). In fact, the historical record is full of cases in which the tourism industry has been affected by a range of disasters each with different disaster triggers, whether they are: 1. Natural
Each of these disaster triggers has affected tourism over the years and we have several notable examples that we can call to mind: 1.NATURAL:
a)The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 which has without doubt shown how international tourists were, with tragic consequences, caught up in the unfolding of a natural disaster (Sharpley, 2005). Thousands of western tourists were the victims of the tsunami. One estimate puts the overall death toll as surpassing 280,000 and the number of tourist causalities at more than 3,500. Such was the scale of devastation, that the World Tourism Organization’s Francesco Frangialli has been known to refer to that event as ‘the greatest catastrophe ever recorded in the history of world tourism’ because it caused the biggest loss of life in terms of the number of tourists as well as those working in the tourism industry. Following the Indian Ocean tsunami, the number of international arrivals in Phuket, Thailand’s second international gateway, dropped by 67.2% in the first half of 2005, and an estimated 500 tourism companies, employing more than 3000 people, collapsed during these months with predictions of further job losses (Henderson, 2007). b)The impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005 which left more than 80% of New Orleans underwater and blew away that state's biggest source of revenue - tourism which in 2004 drew more than 10 million visitors and created 80,000 tourism-related jobs;
c)Tropical storms and hurricanes in the Caribbean islands
The impact of tropical storms and hurricanes has been significant in the Caribbean islands. This has been made even more worse by the location of most important tourism developments visited by international tourists, which lie in the path or location of natural phenomena with a high potential for disaster (UNECLAC, 2003); For example, the impact of Hurricane Georges on the Caribbean tourism sector in 1998 was terrible. In Antigua, six hotels were closed; while in Barbuda, there were two hotels with extensive damage. 15% of the 5,800 rooms in the Dominican Republic were damaged. In St. Kitts, 500-600 rooms were...