Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Honours

School

School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

K Dowling

Second Advisor

Dr Raguragavan Ganeshasundaram

Abstract

This study identifies the issues faced in the post-tsunami recovery of the tourism industry by Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises in the Galle District of Sri Lanka. Similar to many other countries, Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises form a significant proportion of the Sri Lanka Tourism Industry. However, the significance of this sector of the industry was apparent only subsequent to the tsunami. While Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises account for a diverse range of businesses providing products or services for tourist consumption, this study includes only three such categories, namely; hospitality enterprises; souvenir providers and nature-based enterprises. Further, this study also attempts to identify the views of the Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises on the medium to long-term management of their business recovery. Data collection for the purpose of this study was in Sri Lanka over a period of one month, which was approximately eight months after the Boxing Day tsunami 2004. At the time, many of the participants in this study were still in the process of rebuilding their respective businesses. In view of the exploratory nature of the study and the limited time frame, a semi-structured, in-depth interview of 30- 45 minutes' duration was the data collection method utilised. The areas addressed in the interviews were the pre-tsunami business environment; consequences of the tsunami; resumption of business and future considerations. Coding and matrices were utilised for the data analysis thus enabling the identification of relationships among the themes. The findings, which are study specific, indicate that the most pressing issue faced by these Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises is a lack of financial resources. Other issues identified were that the enterprise structure also influenced the business recovery. In addition, issues relating to the extent of collaboration with other stakeholders and the competitive environment influenced the business recovery over both the medium to long-term. Further, post-tsunami government policies and regulations had a significant impact on the avenues of assistance available to these Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises business recovery. While other sources of assistance such as Non-Governmental Organisations and private assistance were available, a lack of co-ordination between these organisations and the government or a lack of knowledge of the sources of assistance also influenced the recovery. Other issues identified were the efficiency and adequacy of the assistance provided from government sources. While these enterprises included both the formal and informal sectors of the tourism industry, no distinctive difference was visible in the assistance provided or available to these enterprises. Findings relating to the long-term management of the business recovery indicated that, while many participants were inclined to take some form of precautionary measure, they did not find relocating as a viable option. Findings further indicated that crisis management strategies implemented by the government had mixed reactions with some enterprises continuing to rebuild the business within the identified buffer zone. The apparent lack of political consensus on the buffer zone issue between the government and main opposition party may have contributed to this.

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