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Post-Tsunami Tourism Strategies for the Maldives

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Abstract:

This article describes the impacts on the tourism industry in the Maldives following the tsunami of December 26th, 2004 and the formulation of strategies for tourism in response to the disaster. An application of lessons learned from previous disasters that have impacted on tourism, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Bali bombings, provides the basis for developing short-, medium-, and long-term tourism strategies for the Maldives. A generic framework and set of key issues for destinations facing disaster situations was presented in a workshop with key stakeholders in the Maldives. The fieldwork was facilitated by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry during January and February 2005 at a critical point for the tourism industry, just 1 month after the disaster. Key stakeholders in the Maldives tourism industry, including government representatives, resort managers, and members of the Maldives Chamber of Commerce & Industry, were engaged and tourism strategies and actions were developed. In addition, an initial assessment of the physical and financial impact of the tsunami based on primary and secondary sources was undertaken to support the case for funding and implementation of the tourism strategies identified. Specific short-, medium-, and long-term strategies and actions are listed, including a short-term communications strategy to project primary and solidarity messages to tourists and travel intermediaries (airlines, travel agents, and tour operators). An assessment of the effectiveness of the communications strategy, as indicated by the monthly changes in international visitor arrivals for the first half of 2005, provides insights into the diversity of market responses that can follow a natural disaster.

Keywords: MALDIVES; TOURISM STRATEGY; TSUNAMI

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/154427206779307312

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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