Crisis management in tourism focus of seminar

MUSCAT: A five-day seminar on ‘Crises and Emergency Management in Tourism Sector’, organised by National Commission for Civil Defence in cooperation with Ministry of Tourism and Omani Partnership for Development Organisation, began on Sunday.
The seminar, aimed at enhancing national capacities and responding to emergencies, began at the conference hall of the Public Authority for Civil Defence under the auspices of Maithaa bint Saif al Mahrouqiyah, Undersecretary, Ministry of Tourism.
Al Mahrouqiyah said the seminar seeks to gather all strategic partners under one roof to “create a real partnership” and merge the tourism sector in the National Crises Management Program, since tourism is a key sector and one of the hardest hit due to its reliance on different sectors. She said the tourism sector has seen an impressive leap on many fronts, including growth in the number of hotel utilities and the development of tourist sites.
These efforts, she said, have resulted in the growth in the number of tourists from 1.4 million in 2011 to 3.1 million in 2016, a 120 per cent jump.
Faisal bin Salim al Hajri, Director of the Executive Office for the National Commission for Civil Defence, made a presentation on the functions and tasks of the commission which operates through an integrated system to limit the effects of emergencies and major incidents.
Hamish Cowell CMG, UK Ambassador to the Sultanate, stressed the importance of the seminar on crises and emergency management and praised the country’s system for emergency management.
Richard Gordon, Director of Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC), highlighted the training courses provided by the centre depending upon the needs of different nations and technical assistance to governments and organisations.
Paul Gregorowitsch, CEO of Oman Air, made a presentation on the US experience in managing crises and incidents such as September 11.
The seminar aimed at identifying risks faced by the tourism sector and the National System for Crises Management. It also seeks to enhance cooperation and coordination between tourism sector and the emergency management system and highlight the crises and emergency management measures.
It focuses on a number of key themes, including sustainable tourism, limiting the risks of emergencies, international experiences, the best practices and basics for an effective system of emergency management.
The seminar is divided into four sessions that will cover air transport, marine transport, hospitality & hotel sector and finally festivals and events.
It will also discuss risks faced by each sector as well as measures for handling them.
A number of crisis management experts from the Sultanate and other countries are taking part. — ONA