Richard Teare (Managing Editor, WHATT)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 21 July 2021

Issue publication date: 21 July 2021



Teare, R. and Miller, D.S. (2021), "Editorial", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 301-303. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-06-2021-131



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and its dramatic impact on hospitality and tourism became the dominant industry concern, and following a suggestion made by Theme Editor DeMond Miller, we decided to explore this with particular reference to ways of building postcrisis resilience. I should like to thank DeMond and his writing team for exploring a wide range of perspectives and implications for recovery and resilience-building.

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (WHATT) aims to make a practical and theoretical contribution to hospitality and tourism development, and we seek to do this by using a key question to focus attention on an industry issue. If you would like to contribute to our work by serving as a WHATT theme editor, do please contact me.

Tourism and hospitality post-disaster and crisis: How can global resilience be enhanced?

Tourist destinations and hospitality venues around the world must deal with disasters and crises in the modern era, and despite the apparent increase, disruptions in normal business operations are inevitable. In the wake of recent disasters in the last two decades (e.g. Hurricane Katrina, Australian wildfires, the Indian Ocean Tsunami, the Christchurch, New Zealand terrorist attacks, Cyclone Nargis, Greek wildfires, COVID-19 and global climate change) tourism and hospitality businesses globally, regionally and locally have suffered and, in some cases, were not able to recover. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, business and leisure travellers are asking, when will we know it is safe to travel again?” With this question in mind, the need for a robust recovery cannot be taken lightly, and hence, the question anchoring this issue is deeply important, Tourism and hospitality post-disaster and crisis: How can global resilience be enhanced? Uncertainty and resilience are central to disasters and crises that befall tourism, and they have social, geopolitical and economic implications (Ritchie, 2009). Hence, the purpose of this WHATT theme issue is to highlight the necessity for planning and organizational readiness following a disaster.

Fundamentally, the issue argues that the global resilience of tourism and hospitality infrastructures can be strengthened by developing resilient local and regional stakeholders (Ritchie, 2004; Reddy et al., 2020). This issue brings together academics and practitioners to explore this in an effort to advance practical discussions on how to build a more resilient future. In the first paper, Miller briefly sets the stage in the article, Abrupt new realities amid the disaster landscape as one crisis gives way to crises. He articulates the degree to which disruption, brought about in the wake of the disaster landscape, presents a “new normal.” In the following article, Social disruption of the tourism and hospitality industries: Implications for post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery, Chapman, Miller and Salley explore the theory of disasters and how social scientific theories of disasters and crises have laid the foundation for tourism and hospitality research. They also provide three guiding principles for building global resilience. Rahmafitria, Sukmayadi and Suryadi’s article, Disaster management in Indonesian tourist destinations: How institutional roles and community resilience are mediated, uses the Hyogo Framework to Action 2000–2015 disaster management approach to consider the effectiveness of disaster management in Indonesia by evaluating community resilience. The purpose here is to determine how the collaborative model of disaster management initiated by government could be strengthened in communities, industry and local government. With an example from Israel, Schmidt and Altshuler’s article, The Israeli travel and tourism industry faces COVID-19: Developing guidelines for facilitating and maintaining a nuanced response and recovery to the pandemic discusses how the tourism industry is contending with the economic and interorganizational challenges marked by a lack of communication between the government and local businesses in the state of Israel. Furthermore, they examine emergency preparation programs that were developed and are currently being deployed by the relevant national stakeholders and question whether instead, it should use the pandemic as a catalyst for formulating its own nuanced tourism-, travel- and hospitality-oriented strategies and procedures. The fifth article, Tourism in the post-COVID-19 era: Evidence from hotels in the North East of England, by Spanaki, Papatheodorou and Pappas, examines the management strategies of UK inbound tourism in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to profile hotel occupancy and employment levels before and during the crisis. The paper highlights managerial implications and suggests a possible way to enhance industry resilience during and following a disaster. Sri Lanka is an emerging tourist destination, and the article, The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism operations and resilience: Stakeholder perspectives in Sri Lanka, by Karunarathne, Ranasighe, Sammani and Perera highlights ways how to build industry resilience in locations plagued with decades of civil conflict, natural disasters, terror attacks and now COVID-19. The last paper in the first section by Harrington, Natural disasters, terrorism, and civil unrest: Crises that disrupt the tourism and travel industry – A brief overview focuses on a different type of crisis, civil and political unrest.

The second section of the issue focuses on interviews. Bledsoe-Gardner’s interview with Ms. Romira Young addresses the opportunities and challenges for local small business owners to better understand tourism as it relates to small businesses within a global network. The second, an interview with Dr Itsik Peres, seeks to find a balanced approach that views health considerations as the top priority within an adaptable tourism industry following COVID-19.

The final section highlights strategies, best practices and policies that can be used to promote resilience. Specifically, Post-pandemic tourism resilience: Changes in Italians’ travel behaviour and the possible responses of tourist cities, by Corbisiero and Monaco, uses a sociological approach to identify how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact tourism, and how both the form and social meaning of mobility can be conditioned by hypothesizing possible scenarios for the future of tourism. Towards a proactive, capabilities-based continuity framework for the hospitality and tourism industry, by Carty, calls for tourism and hospitality professionals to encourage community-industry collaboration that develops proactive, capabilities-based continuity of operational planning. In Altshuler and Schmidt’s article, Why does resilience matter? Global implications for the tourism industry in the context of COVID-19, the authors explore the concept of resilience and propose clusters of globally applicable measures and approaches that could enhance the resilience of tourism and hospitality in the face of COVID-19 and more broadly other regional and global large-scale disasters. The final paper, by Gani and Singh, Re-building tourist destinations from crisis: A comparative study of Jammu and Kashmir, and Assam, India, investigates the comparative strategies of two different states in India as they rebuild their tourism infrastructure after decades of disaster and crises.

This issue came together as the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the globe. The daily infection rates and mortality maps graphically brought to life what the numbers could not do. The maps depicting the spread of COVID-19 highlighted the global reach of the virus and how destination locations along major tourist routes were impacted. This theme issue is dedicated to those who engage in the daily enterprise of tourism and hospitality and who strive to make our experiences not only memorable but also safe. It is their hard work and dedication to their craft that will lead to a global infrastructure that fosters greater resilience in tourist and hospitality operations.

About the Theme Editor

DeMond S. Miller is a Professor and a Director, Disaster Science and Emergency Management, Professor of Sociology, Coordinator, Office of Academic Affairs-Camden Campus and Director, Liberal Arts and Sciences Institute for Research and Community Service, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Rowan University, USA. DeMond specializes in environmental and disaster studies, community-based research and disaster tourism (dark tourism). Recent examples of his work can be found in: The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Space and Culture; The International Journal of Emergency Services; Sociological Spectrum; The Journal of Applied Security Research; Prevention and Response in Asset Protection, Terrorism and Violence. Dr Miller is the Coauthor of Hurricane Katrina and the Redefinition of Landscape with J. Rivera and also Coeditor with Rivera of How Ethnically Marginalized Americans Cope with Catastrophic Disaster: Studies in Suffering and Resiliency, Community Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: Exploring Global Opportunities and Challenges, Comparative Emergency Management: Examining Global and Regional Responses to Disaster and African American and Community Engagement in Higher Education: Community Service, Service Learning and Community-Based Research with S. Evans, C. Taylor and M. Dunlap.


Reddy, M.V., Boyd, S.W. and Nica, M. (2020), “Towards a post-conflict tourism recovery framework”, Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 84, p. 102940, doi:10.1016/j.annals.2020.102940.

Ritchie, B.W. (2004), “Chaos, crises and disasters: a strategic approach to crisis management in the tourism industry”, Tourism Management, Vol. 25, pp. 669-683.

Ritchie, B.W. (2009), Crisis and Disaster Management for Tourism. Aspects of Tourism 38, Channel View Publications.

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