Cognizant Communications Corporation
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Understanding the impact of bushfires on tourism operations in Australian national parks and regional communities is of growing importance, with evidence of their increased frequency and severity linked, in part, to climate change. This is particularly critical for Australian alpine regions, given their greater emphasis on the summer season in the wake of lighter winter snowfalls. This article focuses on management issues and challenges of maintaining tourist operations within the Victorian Alps post-bushfire, including operator reactions to the bushfires and their subsequent implementation (or not) of crisis management and disaster recovery strategies. It is based on a qualitative study involving semistructured interviews with 13 tour operators based in the Mt. Buller and Alpine National Parks. Findings of this study suggest that the majority of operators will experience some impact on their business after the fires, albeit to different degrees, and point to a paucity of forward recovery planning. Operators expressed their concerns about prolonged negative media attention about the fires, but did not have strategies in place to deal with this issue proactively. There appears to be scope for assisting operators on the ground with disaster recovery, including the provision of more positive and timely media communication.