First UN World Tourism Organisation Conference held in Australia
8 November 2011
On September 22-23, Senior Lecturer Dr David Beirman along with major tourism players from around the world organised the first UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference in Australia.
The theme of the conference was the integration of tourism and emergency management. This was the world’s first conference to deal with the issue at a leadership level that encompassed tourism, government and emergency management. Speakers shared valuable experiences of emergency responses, such as this year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, floods in Queensland, the Victorian bushfires, the Christchurch earthquake and the Egyptian uprising. Case studies addressed challenges such as the evacuation of travelers, the dissemination of important security information and media relations. A recurring difficulty recognised was the challenge of overcoming negative safety perceptions with concrete facts about specific crisis-affected areas.
One key outcome of the meeting was an agreement by the Australian Attorney General’s Department and the Tourism Division of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism to advance cooperation by including tourism as an integral element of national resilience and disaster management planning.