number of large fire situations in the last years in Europe, Southeast Asia,
Australia and North America have revealed the vulnerability of tourists and
tourism facilities to the direct and indirect effects of wildland fires.
burning under extreme weather conditions have repeatedly threatened camp
grounds, national parks and other tourist resorts. Evacuations of tourists
from fire-threatened recreation sites in the Mediterranean region and other
places worldwide have caused great concern. Extended periods of smoke
pollution have also negatively affected both local and visiting populations.
the other side it has been observed that tourists are not always aware of the
potential danger of becoming trapped by wildfires – or of being a source of
wildfires due to negligent handling of barbecue fires or smoking.
the last two “International Fairs for Alternative Travel” (Reisepavillon)
in 2004 and 2005 – an event annually held in Hanover, Germany – a group of
environmental and wildland fire specialists were invited by the Integrated
Tourism Group TUI to reflect about the role and relationship of the tourism
sector to the problem of forest fires and other wildland fires.
series of suggestions were made to focus the response to the situation with
regard to the role of the tourism sector and tourists. It was pointed out that
in the context of modern landscape development, tourism is often the strong
sector that can help shape other sectoral developments. Although
reconstruction of burnt areas is the responsibility of agricultural, forestry
and conservation departments, the cross-cutting influence of the tourism
sector can bring a valuable dynamic if done sensitively.
the concept of
voluntary responsibility, it was proposed that actors in the tourism sector
(tour operators, destination service providers and tourists) are asked to
participate in the reconstruction efforts in each area. Among a number of
measures it was suggested that a system can be established in which:
to the area are provided with destination-specific information on what
happened and how the situation can be recovered.
are asked to make a donation to support tree-planting schemes in the
destinations that they visit.
stakeholder enterprises and institutions should collaborate with
conservation bodies (public, NGOs) and local destination management
authorities to develop a European-wide reconstruction project in the
first discussions in 2004 TUI and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)
agreed to produce and distribute a flyer “Like the Phoenix from the Ashes: Forest
fires in the Mediterranean and neighbouring regions- natural environmental
factor or ecological risk?” which
is distributed to TUI tourists and also available one this GFMC website:
flyer provides first hand information and „watch-out“ situations for
tourists and encourages them to visit the GFMC website for wildland fire
background information, recent fire events and fire disaster early warning.
and TUI have agreed to jointly utilize the wildland fire early warning
capabilities that are in place in order to reduce threats and losses of
emergency information TUI tourists may send an e-mail to the GFMC:
Media Reports and GFMC Reports on Tourism and Fires
the GFMC has monitored and published significant vegetation fire and fire
smoke pollution events threatening tourism, or caused by tourists.