Theme Park Disasters and Crisis Management – New Insights towards a Duty of Care in Responsible Tourism Management

Journal of Responsible Tourism Management, 1(1), 28-43

Author(s)

Aaron Tham

Abstract

Responsible tourism has been crafted in the narrative of tourists making ethical decisions to ensure that they engage in tourism in respectful ways. Likewise, tourism practitioners also embed responsible tourism practices to their operations, to derive desired brand and destination images that are aligned to responsible tourism outcomes. However, little is known as to how theme parks engage in responsible tourism, especially when confronted with a crisis or disaster. Using the case study of the Dreamworld equipment malfunction incident in 2016, social media contents and the coroner’s report revealed the gaps related to the duty of care by the theme park in delivering a safe and secure visitor experience over the past few decades. It is hoped that this incident offers a solemn, but timely reminder of the need to weave responsible tourism management practices across service and operational design in the theme park industry.