Crisis under control

What worries the present-day tourist is not the cost of travel, but the safety part of it


Forget that it will never happen to you. ‘Expect the unexpected’ — is the modern day mantra for survival. But the battle is only half won, unless one is equipped to deal with the unpredicted. Events and disasters around the world have made crisis junkies out of many, but have also at the same time fraught us with worry as to how to deal with them. We worry about how to put the lid on the Pandora’s box.

“Be honest and tell the truth,” has been the mantra for Bert Van Walbeek, a hotelier turned crisis management expert, who is on a visit to Nepal to conduct a one-day workshop on crisis management. Walbeek, who was a part of the crisis management team after the Bali bombing in Indonesia, stresses on the challenge to be proactive in the face of uncertainties. Since, it’s the tourism sector that is most vulnerable to disasters, Walbeek will focus on the basic strategies to cope with crises that cripple the tourism industry.

“After the bombings, the tourism sector was crippled in Bali. We were a team of six, which signed an agreement with the Indonesian government. The authorities helped to implement our recovery plan and Bali recovered pretty fast. A lot of that could also apply to the situation here in Nepal,” says Walbeek.

It’s the inability to communicate the truth that makes crises even more formidable. For instance, SARS had affected only a few parts of Asia, but the half-truths that spread around the world prevented tourist inflow to the region. It made the potential tourist alter his/her itinerary “for what worries a present-day tourist is not the cost of travel, but the safety part of it,” explains Walbeek.

Crisis management helps in dealing with a situation that strongly affects the ability to operate normally.

It also deals with formulating recovery plans, and educating journalists and other stakeholders to act more professionally to overcome crisis situation. Walbeek

cites an example of the London bombing, which he describes as the perfect example of dealing with disasters. Though, it shook London, it hardly deterred tourists pouring in to


The crisis management workshop is being conducted by Walbeek on the initiative of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) at Soaltee Crowne Plaza on January 25 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Around 120 participants, from both the private and public sector, are expected to attend the workshop.