Master of disaster lecture open to the public

MASTER OF DISASTER: Tourism marketing and hotelier, Dr Bert “Bow-Thai” van Walbeek

How to manage or prepare for a disaster as a tourism practitioner

AS a hotelier for 45 years, marketer of tourism for 35 years and master of disaster for 25, Dr Bert “Bow-Thai” van Walbeek will be sharing his knowledge and valuable experience in a public lecture at Stenden on Thursday, March 1, at 6pm.

After completing hotel school in The Hague, he worked in operational, sales and marketing positions in the Hilton, Inter-Continental, Canadian Pacific and Sheraton Hotels around Europe.

The second part of his career started in Thailand in 1985 at the Royal Orchid Sheraton. By the end of 1988 he was Sheraton’s vice president of marketing for the Middle East, covering five time zones and 26 hotels. He faced the Gulf Crisis and developed “Back to Normal” concepts for Sheraton hotels and the Egyptian General Authority for the Promotion of Tourism.

Returning to Thailand in 1991, he faced another major crisis and developed the “The World, Our Guest”- campaign as chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Marketing Working Group for the 1992 Recovery Committee.

In 2003 in cooperation with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), he wrote an information brochure on Risk and Crisis Management: “Expect the unexpected“. Since then he has conducted many seminars on crisis prevention and management in Asia. He is also the co-author of a Crisis Management guideline, “Bounce Back”.

As a taskforce member he cooperated on the Tourism Crisis Recovery Communication Plan for Bali, as well as for Chengdu, to help the tourism industries in these areas back on their feet.

Recently he coordinated the PATA Nepal Tourism Rapid Recovery Task Force, bringing volunteer resources and producing the campaign “Nepal, back on top of the world” which won a special token of appreciation from the President of Nepal.

For eight years he was consulted by the Macau Government Tourism Office.

He was recently conferred the lifetime award of an Honorary Doctor of Letters (Hon DLitt) by the University of West London, lectures as Visiting Professor at three prominent universities in Thailand and is an Honorary Professor at Shanghai Normal University.

He is a renowned guest lecturer at universities in China, Germany, Macau, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Synopsis on South Africa:  Keeping it up in hard times !

Now that disasters and crises are becoming part of everyday managerial life, the need to be prepared is becoming a duty for each business, tourism or government organization since the “good old times of being able to think it won’t happen to me ….” are long gone.

The presentation will focus on enhanced crisis management and communication, and is aimed to support all participants to “Bounce Back Better ” by systematizing crisis operation and communication plans.

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