Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Management

Advisor

Diane Dusick

Abstract

Billion-dollar disasters are projected to increase at a statistically significant rate of 5% annually. Crises affect the viability and lucrativeness of tourism business and implicate destinations in the process. Crisis preparedness is vital to improving outcomes and reducing consequential effects in the tourism industryâ??a key contributor to socioeconomic progress and infrastructural development worldwide. The study was an exploration of the strategies used for crisis preparedness to reduce business interruptions and improve the image of destinations affected by large-scale natural disasters and human-induced crises. A multiple case study was conducted based on the cycle of preparedness framework. Data were gathered from organization documents and semistructured interviews by telephone with 6 executives of 6 destination management organizations located in the south and west regions of the United States. Transcribed data were coded and then validated via member checking, revealing 3 themes: organizational preparedness, operational preparedness, and strategic communication. Specifically, possessing a crisis mindset, predetermining crisis risks and responses, and managing information to safeguard the reputation of tourism organizations and destinations were attributed to preparedness at the local and organization levels. Tourism and hospitality professionals may benefit from devising crisis plans, establishing rapport with crisis leaders and teams, and partnering with the media to promote positive perceptions and travel behaviors of tourists. Implications for social change include identifying strategies to limit the impact of crises on individuals and communities to improve the perceptions of safety of a tourist destination after a crisis and thus enhance its economic growth.