Governments and the global travel industry should work more closely to prepare for crises that the sector and to mitigate their impact, the inaugural International Travel Crisis Management Summit was told.

The event, organised by Travel Weekly and held after World Travel Market yesterday, saw over 150 travel industry delegates come together in London to discuss the issues related to crises and share best practice.

UN World Tourism Organisation Dr Taleb Rifai revealed the body has launched new guidelines on crisis management that are available online to help tourism organisations, companies and governmental bodies to prepare.

“We have to prepare ourselves for crisis management and plan and we have to be prepared, we cannot leave things to chance,” he said.

“Governments should create crisis management and mitigation plans. We need to work with the media and last but not least we need to increase international co-operation. There are three aspects: perception, communication and preparedness.

“The UNWTO has approved a plan to create a working group to include every one of you. I would encourage all of us to work together instead of duplicating our efforts.”

Dr Rifai said many governments have crisis plans for government facilities and vital infrastructure like nuclear power stations, but not for tourism. “We are not part of the crisis management agenda,” he said

He added government travel advisories after crises happen in other countries needed to be more intelligent amid signs that terrorist groups are exploiting blanket bans knowing the economic damage they cause.

“We need to promote approaches to more accurate travel advisories. They are beginning to act against our interests. They are beginning to create acts of violence. It’s acting in a counterproductive way. We need to be more intelligent about the advisory.”