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Jul 2020

UN backs disaster resilience plans for hotels in Asia and the Pacific

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Sep 2015

The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström recently announced a plan to develop and pilot disaster risk management standards for the hotel industry in Asia and the Pacific, which is home to 80% of the world’s disaster events.
   According to a UNISDR statement, Ms Wahlström said: “The hotel industry in hazard-prone areas of the world is very vulnerable to major setbacks from floods, storms and earthquakes. Such events can result in closure of resorts and have a significant impact on tourism and employment. The hotel industry has a very important role to play in encouraging disaster risk management at the local level.” 
   A joint study carried out by UNISDR, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) funded by the Federal Republic of Germany has found significant interest in setting such standards among hoteliers, tour operators, tourism bodies, government agencies and insurance companies in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives. 
   The study was carried out for the Hotel Resilient Initiative which aims to develop internationally recognised standards for hotels and resorts that will assist them in reducing business risk and the risk of tourism destinations to natural and technological hazards, while demonstrating the level of preparedness and safety of their premises to potential clients, insurers and financiers. 
   Ms Wahlström said: “The report is telling us that there is concern about the lack of universal standards for disaster risk management across the hotel industry. One incentive is that insurance companies could envisage premium reductions for hotels that demonstrate that they are investing in disaster resilience in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which has been adopted with enthusiasm by governments across the region. The standards will be developed together with the partners of the Hotel Resilient Initiative in the Philippines at the end of this year.” 
   PATA CEO Mario Hardy, said: “Having standardised procedures accepted by the tourism industry seem to be increasingly important to hoteliers as there are none at the moment. These standards could even become a competitive advantage for hotels in the future if they were internationally recognised.”
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