Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently organised a Human Capacity Building Programme to provide insights on how destinations and organisations can prepare for risk mitigation and crisis recovery management.
Hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and held at the Marriott Hotel Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, the two-day intensive workshop attracted 40 travel industry professionals from Malaysia and Brunei.
Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA, explained, "Unforeseen events are happening around the world, which are affecting tourism, affecting the way we live and quite often we are not prepared for it. We don't know what to do, we don't react really well and we don't react fast enough. So, what you will be learning over the next two days are some key skills that you need to learn to prepare yourself. Because the question is not about if you will have another crisis, but it's a question of when it will happen".
The programme was led by Bert van Walbeek of The Winning Edge, a boutique consulting firm for hospitality and tourism industry professionals, as well as John Bailey, managing consultant of Crisis Communications Consulting, Singapore. The duo led participants through a series of classroom sessions, practical activities, group assignments, as well as networking opportunities.
Noredah Othman, acting general manager of STB, said, "Sabah has faced many challenges such as economic downturn, the SARS epidemic, bird flu and earthquakes. However, I'm glad that the Sabah tourism industry, both public and private sectors, are resilient and cohesive in working together. With this workshop, we hope that we can develop a strong and effective plan and set up a team in charge of risk mitigation and crisis recovery in the near future to ensure the safety of our tourists visiting Sabah".