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Understanding risks for your tourism business

Extreme weather events and natural disasters are a risk for many Queensland tourism businesses. However, a range of other political, man-made and economic events can also have a major impact on trading and business resilience.

Risks that may impact Queensland tourism businesses

  • Extreme weather events and natural disasters—drought, heatwave, bushfire, cyclone, storm, flooding, tsunami, storm surge, earthquake, etc.
  • Environmental emergencies—coral bleaching, threats to species, pollution, negative political or media commentary on management/activity, algal bloom, plague, etc.
  • Economic shocks—rapid exchange rate movement, closure of major local tourism attraction, travel restrictions placed on domestic and/or international visitors, etc.
  • Global political events—terrorist incident, global conflict, etc.
  • Major health scares and events—human or animal-based pandemics (e.g. COVID-19, avian flu), etc.
  • Visitor safety emergencies—animal attack (e.g. sharks, crocodiles, Irukandji, snakes), fatality or major injury in local area, bushwalker missing, drowning, etc.
  • Man-made emergencies—chemical spill, explosion, failure of major infrastructure, travel emergency (e.g. ferry sinking, air disasters), etc.
  • Reputational damage or rumours—repeated negative visitor experiences, high-profile criticism of the destination, negative political or media commentary, etc.

Effects of risks and emergencies

Each type of risk or emergency event will affect businesses differently, however they all can cause disruption to trade and impact current or future earnings.

In the event of a crisis or emergency, think about these potential impacts on your business.

Immediate cancellation of bookings, sharp drop-off in trade or a significant drop in earnings

  • Customers are unable to travel to the destination or your business location.
  • 24-hour news cycle, and social and digital media, means that even though it's safe to travel, future visitors choose not to do so and cancel bookings.

Reduction in visitor confidence and a reduction in future bookings and trade due to negative news cycle

  • 24-hour news cycle, and social and digital media, means that the issue can remain topical for a long time and continue to impact on trade after the emergency event is over.
  • Your local area or destination's reputation or public perception can be negatively affected, leading to reduced trade.

Timeframes to recover from a major event can require months or years to complete

  • The time period required for physical recovery and redevelopment of key destination and business infrastructure can be significant. This can lead to long-term reduction of earnings, requiring decisions about cost reduction and business viability.

Unforeseen costs arising from your duty of care for customers and staff

  • Your duty of care may mean that you will need to shelter and feed visitors and staff during, and immediately after, a major emergency.
  • You also may need to provide personal protective equipment such as masks and sanitiser and have additional cleaning costs.
  • Implementing and adhering to new government rules and regulations brought on by the disaster, such as social distancing and visitor check-in technology.

Staff are unable to get to work

  • Full service levels or business opening hours may not be achievable.
  • Other key attractions in your region may be closed due to limited staffing.

Inability to source key supplies or services for your business

  • Your key suppliers may not have a full staff roster which can impact production and deliveries.
  • Limited or no access to fresh food and water or other key business supplies such as electricity.
  • Services reliant on IT and connectivity may be temporarily unavailable including booking and payment systems, affecting communications with customers and suppliers.

Also consider...


Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support: 1300 654 687

General enquiries: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)