Response of the Tourism Industry to Volcanic Hazard Information: A Case Study of the Volcanic Warning at Zao Volcano in 2015
Miwa Kuri*,†, Amy Donovan**, Anawat Suppasri*, and Tetsuya Torayashiki*
*International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University
6-6-11 Aza-Aoba, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8578, Japan
**Geography and Environmental Hazards, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
In recent years, the role of tourism-related workers in regional volcanic disaster prevention has increased in Japan. The coexistence of tourism with disaster mitigation is important in keeping residents and visitors safe and in protecting livelihoods. This paper analyzes responses from tourists and tourism workers on their receipt of volcanic hazard information. Awareness of this hazard is developing in the tourism industry. Information of expert such as members of the JMA and volcanologists at universities and institutes were considered more reliable sources of information than others. However, a direct access to experts’ information was not considered easy. Respondents’ recognition of the past hazards of Zao Volcano and future hazard factors were almost accurate. Some tourism-related workers hoped to obtain volcanic hazard information from the experts to provide to their customers. Many respondents had excessive expectations for predicting an eruption. A few were able to accept the uncertainties associated with volcano warnings and status reports. Experts need to provide adequate explanations of scientific evidence and the associated scientific uncertainties before society can readily accept eruption warnings. Furthermore, in an emergency, it is necessary to make available accurate information from specialized agencies and experts, and promptly provide them to tourism companies.
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