Sustainable tourism development is the best form of disaster prevention in tourism. This was one of the conclusions drawn by organisations from Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia at a meeting in August 2009 in Bangkok, as Sabine Minninger reports. For more than three years, several organisations had been working on disaster preparedness in tourism and Tsunami affected areas in their countries.
As part of the programme initiated by the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (ECOT), national partners such as the National Council of YMCA (NCY) in Sri Lanka, the Asian Research Foundation in Thailand and the Dhyana Pura Tourism School in Indonesia conducted "train the trainers" workshops on pressing concerns, including the protection of children against sexual exploitation, coastal protection, land rights, and the impact of tourism on local communities. Experience has shown that existing problems are exacerbated in the aftermath of disasters. As the impact of climate change can already be felt in some of the regions, the organisations involved are planning to continue their training programmes on disaster preparedness, with a focus on adaptation to climate change.