Uploaded by Viranthi Cooray

DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND RISK REDUCTION IN SRI LANKA TOURISM

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Disaster Mitigation and Risk Management for Tourism in Sri Lanka
Viranthi Cooray- PgDTEHM – Batch 5
Abstract
Disasters, whether natural catastrophes, political instabilities, pandemics or even terrorism, have a
clear impact on the sustainability of the tourism industry. In particular small islands nations are
known to be vulnerable to natural hazards, resulting in substantial risks in particular for the
tourism industry.
Tourism is dependent on an intact ecosystem and on institutional structures that can respond to
the needs of local people and visitors. Therefore, disaster preparedness and mitigation as well as
management should be an essential part of any destinations’ integrated tourism plan.
Considering the impact of disasters and hazards experienced in past decade in terms of lives lost,
damaged infrastructure and economic loss, it is clear that destinations must brace themselves
suitably to face these challenges head on. Demographic changes and diverse land-use practices
together with changes in climate have escalated the frequency and impacts of landslide disasters in
Sri Lanka. Excluding the tsunami of 2004, landslides have been the cause of the highest number of
deaths due to natural disasters and is expected to impact many more in the future. An Integrated
Post Flood Assessment conducted on the May 2010 flood revealed that the medium-term economic
losses to industries and commerce are around ten times higher than that of physical damage. The
majority of small-scale entrepreneurs were affected more seriously due to absence of in-house
capabilities and resources to prepare disaster management, business continuity and recovery plans.
While every shock is different, trends seem to reveal that travel and tourism destinations do bounce
back in the medium to long term. the speed of recovery however, depends on the country’s ability
to manage the crisis both from a security and a PR perspective. This essay will explore how such
calamities can be managed proactively rather than reactively with suggestions to policy makers to
enhance security whilst enabling seamless travel for a sustainable tourism industry.
Keywords: Tourism; Risk Management; Disaster Mitigation; Regulatory Framework;
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