Effects of Natural Disasters on Tourism

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INTRODUCTIONOver the years, tourism has taken its role as a big project that does not only create income but influences life. Tourism has encouraged the fast development seen in many nations of the world and a couple of issues in regards to the industry.it has been declared viable both domestically and internationally (UNWTO, 1995). It involves so many phases of life in general, that is why it is connected to crisis and natural disasters.Tourism-could be defined as a social, cultural, and economic phenomenon which involves the, movement of people to countries or places outside their normal environment for personal or business purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure. (WT0)Tourism relies on man-built infrastructure, food, transportation, electricity, water and natural resources. Natural disaster will cause damage to these resources.Disaster-is a severe commotion to a communitys survival and livelihood systems, resulting from peoples survey to hazard impacts, involving loss of life and property which devastates their capacity to cope (DFID, 2004).Disasters could also be explained as a condition where an external and unpredictable change of condition/events that will cause damage. Natural Disaster-is a sudden, catastrophic event that causes serious commotion of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic and environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope seeing its own level of resources. For instance it destroys the natural surroundings and resources which the industry depends on.Natural disasters come in so many ways and forms. Examples are; earthquake, flood, volcanicEruption,Tornado,tsunami,wildfire,drought,hailstorm,heat wave,hurricane,epidemic,famine,lahar,liminic eruption, mud flow, solar flare and other disasters.The first reaction after a natural disaster has occurred is that tourists will avoid that destination. Because they will be scared that the site is dangerous. Another reaction of tourists after a natural disaster has occurred is that tourism will likely decrease drastically.On the other hand, the vice versa happens. When natural disasters takes place interest of that destination will grow, in the sense that researchers, students and scientists who are interested to study the effects of the affected and dangerous area will come to visit the site. For example PompeiiLITERATURE REVIEW

Among all the limiting factors of tourism, all seem resolvable except for one; natural disaster. Natural disasters have always been a factor that has been refusing the fast growth of tourism around the world. It is a difficult force that reduces the influence of tourism. (Define by UNWTO). The strongest earthquake ever recorded, measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale, occurred off the Chilean coast in 1960 and led to deadly waves in Hawaii, the Philippines and Japan (BBC news, 2005c)For a disaster to be entered into the database of the UN's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), at least one of the following criteria must be met: a report of 10 or more people killed a report of 100 people affected a declaration of a state of emergency by the relevant government a request by the national government for international assistance Mostly, it arises due to geologic processes which are change of state in atmospheric conditions as a result of internal and external forces that shape the physical makeup of the planet.

Map of Japan showing, where it is located on the eastern part of Asia.

Types of Natural Disaster There are two wide categories of natural disasters which include; disasters caused by climate and disasters caused by geology. Aaron Popp (2006). Climatic disasters Geologic disastersClimatic disasters: come as a result of atmospheric phenomena such as hurricanes, drought and flooding.Hurricanes- are large storms that form in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world where the water is warm which is common and felt strongly near cost-lines, mountainous and island regions. They usually give some early signs of their arrival, in order for the inhabitants of that area to evacuate.Droughts- Droughts on the other hand, are times when the rainfall level reduces below average causing less supply of water for specifically for agriculture. This type of natural disaster regulates the attractiveness of stricken locations and poses practical difficulties regarding water supply.Flooding- Flood arises due to the heavy rainfall or snow disintegration which causes rivers to run-off their banks spreading to neighboring areas (Abbott, 2004). The two forces that stimulate climatic disaster are wind and water. Geologic disasters: Occur due to geological changes which cause disasters such as earthquake and volcanic eruption.Earthquakes-likewise known as tremor or temblor, results as a reason of sudden leak of energy in the Earth's crust that forms seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the regularity, type and size of earthquakes that has occurred over a period of time. This type of natural disaster cannot easily be predicted.Volcanic eruption-arises when gravity on a magma chamber forces magma up through the conduit and out the volcano's vents. When the magma chamber has been totally filled, the type of outbreak could partly be determined by the amount of gases and silica in the magma. The amount of silica controls how sticky (level of viscosity) the magma is and water provides the explosive possibility of steam. The impact of earthquakes could be landslides while volcanic eruption and earthquakes could cause tsunami. Volcanic eruption is also difficult to predict.

JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI 2011Japan is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters because of its climate, tectonic vulnerability, topography and level of development. Amongst all these other natural disasters that have occurred around the universe and in Japan, I will be discussing mainly about the March 11,2011 natural disaster.Japan was struck with magnitude-9.0 earthquake followed by a 14-metre tsunami on March 11,2011.This caused a wide release of harmful materials into the atmosphere bringing about a wide pollution and a hydrogen eruption. When the earthquake hit Japan, it was so strong that the island of Honshu(largest island) relocated 8 feet eastward. Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan said in 65 years after the end of world war 2,this is the toughest and the most challenging crisis for japan.The Japanese national police has confirmed15,694 dead,5,714 injured,4,669 people missing and over 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed.

Below are some pictures; showing how the after effects of the tsunami and earthquake looked like on the 11th of March 2011;

Review of the natural disasters from two different news stations;CNN news reportA 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck off Japans eastern coast early Tuesday with a depth of 9 kilometers (5, 6 miles) the terror was about 96 kilometers (342 miles) north-northeast of Tokyo, according to the U.S agency. Before it happened, the Japan meteorological Agency(JMA), however did not issue any tsunami warnings immediately after the Tuesday morning quake. In addition, no such warnings were given and issued by the pacific tsunami warning center either 30mins after the 1st earthquake, another significant, but slightly weaker one, hit the same area. Tuesday earthquake was much deeper compared to the 1st rooted about 38 kilometers (23.6miles) below sea level.

BBC news reportThe quake hit at 14:46 local time (0546 GMT)Japan's most powerful earthquake since records began has struck the north-east coast, triggering a massive tsunami.Cars, ships and buildings were swept away by a wall of water after the 8.9-magnitude tremor, which struck about 400km (250 miles) north-east of Tokyo.A state of emergency has been declared at a nuclear power plant, where pressure has exceeded normal levels.Officials say 350 people are dead and about 500 missing, but it is feared the final death toll will be much higher.In one ward alone in Sendai, a port city in Miyagi prefecture, 200 to 300 bodies were found.The quake was the fifth-largest in the world since 1900 and nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, said scientists. Thousands of people living near the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been ordered to evacuate.At the sceneRoland BuerkBBC News, TokyoIn the Centre of Tokyo many people are spending the night in their offices. But thousands, perhaps millions, chose to walk home. Train services were suspended.Even after the most violent earthquake anyone could remember the crowds were orderly and calm. The devastation is further to the north, along the Pacific coast.There was a tsunami triggered by the quake reaching up to 10km (six miles) inland in places carrying houses, buildings, boats and cars with it. In the city of Sendai the police found up to 300 bodies in a single ward. Outside the city in a built-up area a fire blazed across several kilometers.Japan's ground self-defense forces have been deployed, and the government has asked the US military based in the country for help. The scale of destruction from the biggest quake ever recorded in Japan will become clear only at first light.


The occurrence of natural disaster refuses the increasing of benefits on tourism, societies and people in the disaster-prone areas. Therefore, in the following points, I will be explaining how natural disasters leave impacts on tourism, tourists and the people who live in those disastrous areas. It causes decline in number of tourists visiting in the area; it creates a negative picture in the eyes of tourists all over the world. That particular site becomes risky or dangerous, therefore pushing tourists away by making them scared of the destination.Hanqin Qiu Zhang(2005). Natural disasters bring about decrease in money being spent in the area due to lack of visitors; after the destination has been painted black in the minds of tourists, their yearly profit from the industry reduces. Because no one wants to visit a place that has been called dangerous or risky since the site is now dangerous, most tourists give up their travel plans for safer tourist destinations. Disasters (Robyn and Nic)For instance the effects of the Indian Ocean tsunami on Thailand. Increases the number of tourists buying insurance; According to the survey conducted by Horizon-china in Beijing)Shanghai and Guangzhou-before only 40% of the people there buy insurance and out of that 19% did death insurance. But after the natural disaster tourists buying insurance increased by 20% in China. Hanqin Qiu Zhang(2005) Government begins to spend more than normal; their spending rises due to lack of money gotten through tax (as less people are working for the Government), combined with the aid needed to recover from the event, government spending increases and the areas economy drops to the lowest. Disasters (Robyn andNic). Natural disaster physically damages the area; even after a natural disaster has occurred, its physical damages are strongly felt. In the sense that, it destroys valuable properties, tourist sites, houses and infrastructures which could cost millions of dollars to recover or rebuild. (Beirman, 2012)Examples; Honshu Island in Japan and the Indian Ocean tsunami in Thailand 2004. The Unemployment rate rises; the disposable income(total personal income minus personal current taxes) of locals decreases.in other words, since the locals wont be spending money as they used to due to lack of Jobs, and tourists will not be visiting as a result of the disaster, income in those places as well as businesses will definitely decline. Disasters(Robyn and Nic) It increases public knowledge of the destination; travelers become more fascinated about those sites. They travel to these sites not to help the affected people, but to look with interest at the devastation. Potts (2006) most people who do these are disaster tourists, researchers and students (excursions). For instance; after the Hurricane Katrina, people wanted to see the working class neighborhood that had become a symbol of human suffering. Natural Disasters destroy the fertility of the affected site; for example when crops that affect the supply of food and prices not only in the country in which they occur, but worldwide are being destroyed by natural disasters such as floods,drought,wildfires,extreme temperature and insect infestations. They leave an impact on the agriculture of the country as well as other countries that they supply food. This factor also affects the industry by not providing tourists with the different types of foods they want, when they visit. Leah Kathryn Wells Windsor (2012). A good instance is the radiation of fishes in Fukushima,Japan.

CONCLUSIONIn Summary, natural forces will permanently be with us and tourism is one of the major sectors of the world economy. Therefore, these two basic forces play different major roles. When thinking of tourism, images that come to mind are vacationers, fun, relaxation, sightseeing, and beautiful surroundings. Natural disasters, on the other hand, bring to mind images of destruction, death, and tragedy. For many, areas disturbed by natural disasters do not conjure up images of ideal vacation destinations. Rather, tourism and the profits derived from it become preys of natural disasters.On the other hand, the effects of the earthquake and tsunami resulted from the unending crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and its consequences which is the departure of occupants, pollution of the environment, and unavailability of electricity. In order for these radioactive forces to stop affecting the country, a committee was created, that oversees activities concerning natural disasters and is chaired by the prime minister.Japan has also implemented strict building codes, zoning regulations, and emergency training and communication of earthquakes. With all these recovery strategies, agencies in charge of preventing natural disasters such as Tokyo Electric power company (Tepco), Japan Meteorological agency (JMA), Japan International Cooperation agency (JICA) and so many others should follow these strategies strictly, so as to predict natural disasters in the near future and the remaining resources of Japan will be preserved for the generations to comeREFERENCESRoshani PalliyarguruDilanthiArmaratunya, (2008) managing disaster risks through quality infrastructure and vice versa: post disaster infrastructure construction practices, structural survey, vol.26 is: 5, pp.426-434.http://www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Japan/MapAaron Popp (2006) The effects of natural disasters on long run growth, Journal on Major Themes in Economics.http://forum.santabanta.com/showthread.htm?226481-2011-Most-Devastating-Natural-Disasters-Around-The-WorldWorld Tourism Organization (1995) UNWTO technical manual: Collection of Tourism Expenditure Statistics"http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/analysis/external/insurance/definitions_en.pdfHan Qui Zhang, (2005)impact of the tsunami on Chinese outbound tourism international journal of contemporary hospitality management, vol.17, and issue: 5, pp.433-435.www.encyclopedian.comJoan Henderson, (2007) tourism crisis: causes, consequences and management.Elseveir Inc., library of congress cataloging-in-publication data.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/japan-earthquake-and-tsunamiLeah Kathryn Wells Windsor (2012) a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of philosophy political science international relations methodology, University of Mississippi. http://theconversation.edu.au/danger-in-paradise-resurrecting-tourism-after-natural-disasters-3827Richard j, Campbell (2011) Fukushima nuclear crisis, DIANE publishingBBC News - Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east David Beirman (2012) Danger in paradise: resurrecting tourism after natural disastersTop 5 Most Expensive Natural Abbott, Patrick L. (2004) Natural disasters. 4th ed. Boston, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, P.460. World Tourism Conference (1980) Manila Declaration on World Tourism" Manila, Philippines. pp. 1 4 http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/en/Background/mission.htmlDisasters (Robyn and Nic)


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