New UN-backed plan sets disaster resilience standards for hotels in Asia and Pacific

An aerial view of the vast destruction of the Indonesian coast, between the towns of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, caused by the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

An aerial view of the vast destruction of the Indonesian coast, between the towns of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, caused by the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Asian Pacific, 29 July 2015 – A United Nations-backed plan to develop and pilot disaster risk management standards for the hotel industry in Asia and the Pacific, home to 80 per cent of the world’s disaster events, has been announced today.

“The hotel industry in hazard prone areas of the world is very vulnerable to major setbacks from floods, storms and earthquakes. Such events can result in closure of resorts and have a significant impact on tourism and employment. The hotel industry has a very important role to play in encouraging disaster risk management at the local level,” the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, said.

A joint study carried out by UNISDR, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) has found significant interest in setting standards among hoteliers, tour operators, tourism bodies, government agencies and insurance companies in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives.

The study was carried out for the Hotel Resilient Initiative which aims to develop internationally recognized standards for hotels and resorts that will assist them in reducing business risk and the risk of tourism destinations to natural and technological hazards, while demonstrating the level of preparedness and safety of their premises to potential clients, insurers and financers.

“The report is telling us that there is concern about the lack of universal standards for disaster risk management across the hotel industry,” Mr. Wahlström added. One incentive is that insurance companies could envisage premium reductions for hotels that demonstrate that they are investing in disaster resilience in line with the Sendai Framework for DisasterRisk Reduction which has been adopted with enthusiasm by governments across the region. The standards will be developed at the end of this year.”