Crisis Summit in London: Jamaica to establish global crisis center?


A day after World Travel Market London, organized by Daniela Wagner, Director of International Partnerships for Jacobs Media Group, a well-attended International Travel Crisis Management Summit concluded at Haberdashers Hall in London.

The keynote address was presented by Gerald Lawless, Chairman of WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council), and Head of Tourism and Hospitality, Dubai Holding.

Over the last few years, there has been increased global focus on crisis management and communication. Knowledge-sharing has become a prerequisite as travelers face ever-more frequent disruptions. The discussion touched on the capacity for which a destination can handle a crisis. It asked: “Can we think entrepreneurial about resilience? Where do we need to innovate in terms of achieving successful crisis management? Are we too focused on a communication crisis?”

The discussion was presented by Rajan Datar of the BBC News Travel Show. The speaker was Professor Lee Miles, the Dean of Crisis/Disaster Management for Bournemouth University.

Responders included Deepak Raj Joshi, the CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board. Nepal had to deal with a devastating earthquake in 2015, but Deepak was able to announce record numbers of tourism increases that brought tourism back to the Himalayan country. Also on the panel was Mmatsatsi Ramawela, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa; Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA; and the Honorable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica. Mr. Hardy presented examples during floodings in Thailand and the coup de tat. Minister Bartlett wanted delegates to walk away with a thought and an offer. Faced with the largest crisis ever after two devastating hurricanes in the  Caribbean, Bartlett suggested to set up a global communication crisis headquarter in Jamaica. This was definitely an idea worth developing.

More interesting sessions dealt with cyber threats, effective crisis communication, dealing with social media and marketplace brand credit, the fourth industrial revolution, and what digitalization and its impact is on travel.

Robert Sinclair-Barnes, the Strategic Marketing Director for Amadeus, presented an airline disruption management case study.

Participants found out from Sims Witherspon, how Google helps to get important information to people affected by a crisis; they learned about SOS Alerts in Search and Maps.

The event was summarized by Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, and Robert Jensen, CEO for Kenyon International.

eTurboNews (eTN) was represented by publisher Juergen T. Steinmetz.