A crisis is a serious event that can be either perceived or real. It disrupts normal activities and impacts negatively on the operations of a tourism business – and possibly a tourism region in the immediate to short-term.

You may think a crisis will never affect your business, but a crisis can strike any tourism business, large or small making it difficult or even impossible to carry out your normal day-to-day activities.

It can arrive with little or no warning in the shape of flood, fire, terrorist threat, disease outbreak, locust plague or unwelcomed media attention. Even if you think you're not in a disaster-prone area, the tone and scale of the media coverage of a nearby emergency may result in a downturn in clientele to your business.

Consider all types of potential crisis events

When you're developing a risk management plan, it's important to consider all types of potential crisis events that may affect your business directly, or indirectly (through a carry on effect).

Here are some examples of the types of crisis events that could affect your region or Victoria as a whole – and consequently could have an indirect impact on your business.

Indirect impact

Here are some examples of the types of crisis events that could affect your region or Victoria as a whole – and consequently could have an indirect impact on your business.


  • bushfires
  • flooding
  • drought
  • severe rain or wind storm
  • tsunami
  • landslides and mudflows
  • earthquake
  • pest plagues such as rodents and insects
  • blue green algae outbreak.


  • major transport accident such as a train, boat or aircraft crash
  • terrorist incident
  • major civil unrest
  • oil spill
  • hazardous material accidents such as a gas leak
  • water pollution


  • outbreak of disease such as Legionnaire's or Meningococcal
  • food poisoning

General safety

  • crime such as bag snatching or pickpocketing
  • views about safety such as accidents with visitor activities
  • animal attack such as shark attack

Direct impact

There may also be crisis events that directly impact your business such as:

  • Theft or vandalism of machinery or vehicles, computer equipment or data, or damage to your property. This could prove devastating to any company and pose health and safety risks
  • Outbreak of disease or infection among your staff, in your premises or among livestock could present serious health and safety risks
  • Crisis affecting suppliers – how would you source alternative supplies?
  • Crisis affecting customers – will insurance offset a client's inability to take your services?
  • Natural disasters – for example, flooding caused by burst water pipes or heavy rain, or wind damage following storms
  • Fire at your premises or in the neighbourhood could affect health and safety, as well as the operation of the business thereafter
  • Loss of utilities loss of power or water supply could severely affect your whole business operation. What would your business do without electricity, gas or water for a day, a week or even a month? What would be the affect on your services, communications or IT?
  • Terrorist attack – consider the risks to your employees and business operations from a terrorist strike, either where you are located or where you and your employees travel. Also consider whether an attack may have a longer-term effect on your particular market or sector.
  • IT system failure – computer viruses, attacks by hackers or system failures could affect employees' ability to work effectively
  • Fuel shortages – temporary shortages in fuel supply could prevent staff getting to work and affect your ability to make and receive deliveries
  • Restricted access to premises – how would your business function if you couldn't access your workplace, for example due to a gas leak?
  • Loss or illness of key staff – how would your business cope if a key member of staff were to leave or was incapacitated by illness?
  • Cyber attack – is your business protected from viruses, trojans and hacking? How would your business survive if your data was affected or could not be recovered?

Potential consequences of these crisis events:

  • an immediate downturn in visitors
  • business closure for an extended period of time or cease trading altogether
  • several weeks or months to return to pre-crisis levels of sales
  • limited or no cash flow for an extended period
  • legal proceedings against your business
  • heightened levels of personal stress

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