MÉRIDA, Mexico:— “On point” was how Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, & Chairman, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) described the presentation by Head of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Rolando Brison at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference in Merida, Mexico this past week.
Brison was invited to participate in a panel discussion on Best Practices for Crisis Management. The discussion utilized the vantage points of both cruise executives and destinations and examined best practices for handling natural disasters and crises and provide an all-encompassing plan from preparation to a proactive reaction, including housing and relief, evacuations, public relations, and communications with partners to supply resources.
In his initial presentation, Brison talked about the importance of communication in crisis management. He highlighted having communication redundancy as one of the things he thinks St. Maarten could improve upon going forward. “One of the strategies that were employed in the aftermath of hurricane Irma was ensuring that we are not being naive about the fact that no communication does not mean the media will not get the information they the want,” Brison said.
The three pillars of crisis communication he highlighted were being open, being factual and being realistic. Other cruise executives also chimed in regarding what cruise ships expects from destinations in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. PM Chastanet stressed that he believed Brison was “on point” and had outlined the correct communication strategy that all island should roll out in a crisis.
During the question and answer segment of the discussion, Brison was asked what he foresaw as the situation post hurricane Irma in the mid to long term as it relates to crisis management. Brison in turn focused his answer on the evolution of crisis management strategies.
“Crisis management is constantly evolving. If we look to 1995 and what we learned from hurricane Luis, much of our electrical infrastructure was placed underground, we mitigated flooding with larger, concrete trenches ect. Irma has thought us about handling communication in a social media age. So there is a constantly evolving mechanism when it comes to disaster management and as a tourism professionals we have to be realistic about the fact that there will always be learning points, there will always be things we need to improve upon. The key is to identify and be honest with the fact that those things exists and implement them in a timely manner in future disaster management plans.”
Press Release from the Ministry of TEATT
Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/27495-brison-s-presentation-at-fcca-dubbed-on-point-by-st-lucia-pm.html