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Developing the concept of an integrated emergency response system for the tourism industry: case study of the cruise ship industry.

Al Salti, M. H. M., 2019. Developing the concept of an integrated emergency response system for the tourism industry: case study of the cruise ship industry. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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AL SALTI, Majda Hamood Mohamed_Ph.D._2019.pdf



The tourism industry is vulnerable to all kinds of emergency events. These events are in turn impacted by further complexities arising from a range of consequences, themselves exacerbated by inevitable knock-on effects. As a result, the tourism industry is vulnerable to physical damage and loss to critical infrastructure and super structure. It is also vulnerable to injury and loss to human life, and loss to the environment. Finally, it is vulnerable to its reputation in terms of the image portrayed of the destinations resulting in a drastic fall in the number of visitors. Some impact can be mitigated by the improving links and the understanding between the tourism industry and the emergency services thereby facilitating future emergency response to any potential incident, particularly in destinations which receive a high volume of tourists. The complex nature of emergencies requires the involvement of multiple emergency response actors; above and beyond the usual emergency services. This in turn requires effective communication and co-ordination in order to ensure a successful outcome. Despite the fact that several studies have been carried out into the integration of the tourism industry with emergency management systems on land, very little research has focused on the cruise industry. Cruise ships are an important consideration because with their ever-increasing size, they are now floating destinations, hosting thousands of tourists. This study seeks to fill that gap by using building-block scenarios within which to examine the concept of an integrated emergency response system for the tourism industry in Oman with specific focus upon the cruise ship sector. To assist in achieving this aim a thorough review of complexity, complex systems and complexity theory was conducted in order to better understand the nature of emergencies and how tourism works as a complex adaptive system. Planning theory was also examined, in particular strategic and scenario planning, in order to recommend improvements in the planning and management processes of emergencies. This research subsequently highlighted a particular aspect of the emergency management cycle upon which to focus; namely the response phase. The complexity of emergency response, particularly in relation to tourism, was examined in order to elicit ways to improve the effectiveness of emergency responses to future incidents. The case studies of Costa Concordia, MVs Sewol Korean Ferry and Norman Atlantic were utilised as an approach to evaluate the specific challenges encountered within the cruise-ship industry in the case of emergency responses. The study was conducted within the context of Oman, which has a growing cruise-ship industry. The study used a range of scenarios to examine issues that arise from emergencies. It proposes future coordinating actions to mitigate loss of life and damage to the tourism industry. The study used semi-structured, face-to-face interviews to evaluate the capabilities of the emergency response system in Oman and used online-semi- structured interviews to identify the capabilities, requirements and challenges of cruise lines in Europe. The outcomes of this research indicated that the tourism industry in Oman lacks awareness and knowledge about planning and managing emergencies, as well as having poor mitigation and preparedness measures. It also revealed that there is an absence of cohesiveness and communication between tourism organisations, in terms of sharing experiences and feedback. The tourism industry in Oman demonstrated a low level of communication and integration with other emergency services. This was further compounded by a lack of involvement of the tourism industry within any current emergency committees and plans in Oman. To assist in resolving these issues, intra-integration (within the tourism industry) and inter-integration (between tourism and emergency institutions) structures are proposed. Findings drawn from the online-interviews in relation to European cruise lines showed that, in general, cruise ships lack coordination and collaboration with local emergency services. It was discovered that the sole point of contact for the cruise industry within any given destination is frequently the shipping agent. This in turn highlighted a potential single point of failure, in that shipping agents confessed to lacking the capability and capacity to provide an effective liaison during times of emergency. To improve future integration and relations between cruise lines, local tourism industry and emergency services, the research suggested conducting joint drills, developing coordinated plans and working collaboratively in the event of emergencies.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:emergency management; disaster management; complexity theory; planning theory; tourism; cruise ship; response system
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:32159
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:10 Apr 2019 08:32
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:15


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