RALEIGH—French/West/Vaughan, one of the Southeast’s largest independent public relations firms, is introducing a new crisis management training product specifically designed for tourist attractions and destination marketing organizations.
Ed Dreistadt, director of FWV’s travel and tourism practice, is a former Busch Gardens theme park marketing vice president. While working with Busch, he handled crises including a shooting in a park the day before high profile guests were to arrive; a maintenance worker killed by a ride; guests dying (of natural causes) in the park; and a ride breaking down with high profile guests on board.
“I saw my share of crisis situations, including the day Fabio was hit by a goose during the opening of a roller coaster,” joked Dreistadt. “My experience with crisis management became invaluable that day and made me understand how important it is for travel and tourism destinations to be prepared for the unexpected.”
FWV’s training session will offer elements of traditional crisis training, although the majority of the session is tailored to tourism industry-specific needs and issues.
“A lot of agencies offer crisis communications and media training,” said FWV President & CEO, Rick French. “However, most of them don’t have it targeted to a specific industry. With the world situation the way it is and heightened security at places where large groups of people congregate, it’s critical for tourist attractions, in particular, to be prepared for worst case scenarios.”