Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Communicating Climate Change: Making Environmental Messaging Accessible




This chapter focuses on risk communication in the tourism sector. Tourism organizations must communicate with a variety of stakeholders when conveying messages about impending severe weather or disasters, which are increasing due climate change and sea level rise. There is also an increased need to distribute information to tourism stakeholders about preparing for, continuing service during, and recovering from, disasters. Stakeholders involved with the tourism industry include business owners, government officials and tourists, all of whom have differing degrees of vulnerability in a destination when a threat occurs. Different messages regarding disaster preparation and recovery must be communicated to the different stakeholders, and often industry associations or convention and visitors’ bureaus are responsible for relaying these messages. The chapter provides an overview of previous research on risk communication. The authors then detail a case study about improving risk communication and information among tourism stakeholders in coastal Virginia. The chapter concludes with lessons for public officials, destination management organizations, and tourism business owners to improve their risk communication.


This is the authors' submitted version for inclusion in the book Communicating Climate Change: Making Environmental Messaging Accessible, edited by Juita-Elena (Wie) Yusuf and Burton St. John III.

Original Publication Citation

Usher, L. E., & Schroeder, A. (2021). Risk communication in the tourism industry. In J.E.W. Yusuf & B. St. John III (Eds.), Communicating Climate Change: Making Environmental Messaging Accessible (pp.151-168). Routledge.