The University of Florida’s Tourism Crisis Management Institute has announced the launch of a new online “Tourism Crisis Management” certificate program. The consecutive 29 day certificate program is designed for tourism industry professionals who are responsible for visitor safety and image maintenance within the destination they manage.

There is a critical need for tourism organizations to be prepared before, during and after a crisis. The Tourism Crisis Management certificate program provides information about the fundamentals of tourism crises, emergency management and tourism crisis management. The certificate program addresses four phases of tourism crisis management planning. Participants will be required to develop a comprehensive written tourism crisis management plan for their destination as part of the program.

“Expertise in tourism crisis management is essential in today’s unpredictable environment,” said Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray, Director of the Tourism Crisis Management Institute at the University of Florida. “Every tourism organization should have a comprehensive written tourism crisis plan to handle a variety of crises.”

Elaine McLaughlin, Strategic Operations Director of the Tourism Crisis Management Institute said, “With budget decreases, registering for the certificate program is the perfect opportunity to invest in training without the expense of travel to a conference site.” “Training is especially important for tourism professionals dealing with multiple crises like the economic crisis, natural disasters and even health crises.”

The Tourism Crisis Management Certificate Program for Destination Management Organizations will begin March 6, 2009 and end on April 3, 2009. Eleven additional sessions will follow. The Tourism Crisis Management Certificate Program for Attraction and Lodging professionals will be offered August 28, 2009 and end September 25, 2009. Eight additional sessions will follow.