The event, hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), was held from 22-23 May 2019 and attracted 40 travel industry professionals from the various states of Malaysia, as well as from Brunei Darussalam.
Bangkok, Thailand - Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently organised another Human Capacity Building Programme with the theme ‘Risk Mitigation and Crisis Recovery Management’ at the Marriott Hotel Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.
The event, hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), was held from 22-23 May 2019 and attracted 40 travel industry professionals from the various states of Malaysia, as well as from Brunei Darussalam. The two-day intensive workshop provided key insights on how destinations and organisations can prepare for the risks that can potentially evolve into a crisis, through an interactive training programme that incorporated a series of classroom sessions conducted by leading travel industry experts coupled with practical activities, group assignments and networking opportunities.
During his welcome remarks to the participants, PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy noted that, “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.”
Noredah Othman, Acting General Manager - Sabah Tourism Board, said, “It is my honour to welcome speakers and participants from many states of Malaysia and Brunei to the PATA Human Capacity Building Programme on Risk Mitigation and Crisis Recovery Management workshop organised by PATA and hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board and PATA. 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 sector, 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.”
The programme was led Dr. Bert van Walbeek, The Winning Edge, Thailand and John Bailey, Managing Consultant, Crisis Communications Consulting, Singapore.
"An increasingly important destination selection criteria for tourists is safety and security and Sabah’s tourism providers must emphasize this more convincingly as a competitive instrument,” said Dr. van Walbeek. “A better conceptual understanding for ‘Risk Mitigation and Crisis Recovery Management’ will provide key insights on how to prepare Sabah’s public and private entities for risks that can evolve into a crisis and perhaps a disaster. This workshop will enhance a reduced risk-avoidance mentality through realization that one should always ‘expect the unexpected’ and that tourists want to feel safe."
Mr Bailey added, "The challenge of preparing for and responding to crisis situations has never been more complex. In the era of ‘always on’ digital media, even an apparently trivial event or issue can escalate unto a full-blown social media ‘firestorm’ before the company or organisation concerned is even fully aware of what happened. Understanding how to respond quickly and effectively to reassure and inform all affected stakeholders, across all available channels, is essential to mitigate the potential damage to brand and reputation".
The workshop ended with a closing ceremony on 23 May, attended by YB Datuk Christina Liew, Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah, as the guest of honour. Participants that have completed the workshop were awarded with a ‘Certified Asia Pacific – Risk Mitigation and Crisis Recovery Management’ certificate.