Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Asia-Pacific region, but also one of the most exposed to natural hazards. In many countries, the tourism industry plays an important role in advancing development and makes a significant contribution to the local, national and global economy. Disasters do not only pose a threat to tourists and workers, but have wider impacts on communities relying on tourism as their primary source of income. The location of many destinations creates a high susceptibility. Hotels and resorts attract continued investments in hazard prone areas, where risks are inadequately addressed. The UNISDR Global Assessment Report 2013 (GAR13) has found that the hotel industry is usually able to manage low impact hazard events well, but that extreme events are often poorly managed. Many hotels do not have the mechanisms in place to reduce their risks and to be prepared for a disaster.
The ‘Hotel Resilient’ initiative aims to develop internationally recognised standards for hotels and resorts to support them in reducing the degree to which their businesses, as well as tourists and neighbouring communities, are exposed to climate and disaster risks. At the same time, the standards will help hotels and resorts to demonstrate the level of preparedness and safety of their premises to potential clients, insurers and financers. The implementation of effective disaster risk management through certification programmes and voluntary rating systems to create shared value were one of the recommendations raised in the GAR13. An overarching aim of the Initiative is to strengthen resilience throughout tourism destinations to also reduce disaster risks in the surrounding communities.
Hotel Resilient is a stakeholder-driven response to the finding that many hotels and resorts lack the know-how, resources and systems to reduce their risks and be prepared for disasters. The Initiative addresses small, medium and large hotels, while recognizing their different requirements and capacities.
The Hotel Resilient Standards were developed through a participatory process with the support of the Hotel Resilient Steering Committee and the Hotel Resilient Expert Group composed of international experts in the field of tourism and disaster risk and emergency management. The Standards are supported by a web application that allows hotels to analyse their risks and calculate financial impacts, costs and benefits. A specific training component developed in line with the Standards ensures that capacities and capabilities are build-up and maintained to create a safe and risk-informed environment.
To promote improved disaster risk management and to strengthen resilience in the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific, GIDRM is cooperating with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Asia and Pacific (UNISDR) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Besides its partnership with UNISDR and PATA as well as an consortium of technical partners like KIT and Risk Layer, the Initiative is building on strong collaboration with representatives from the respective government agencies for tourism and disaster risk management, the private sector (e.g. hotel associations, hotels, resorts and tour operators) and civil society in the current focus countries of Maldives, Philippines and Thailand.