Whether natural or caused by people, disasters have been and continue to be a part of life that communities must deal with. Tourism destinations are especially vulnerable to disaster occurrences due to their economic dependence on visitors and the need to maintain a positive image of attractiveness and safety for continued success. The past decade has witnessed numerous natural disasters in tourist destinations around the world; therefore, community leaders, local governments, and major industries need to be prepared for the worst.

The 1989 Hurricane Hugo experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was managed by a local non-profit organization comprised of volunteer community and industry leaders. The Hugo experience demonstrated the need to have a plan of action to follow after disaster occurrences. Telephone interviews were conducted with tourism leaders around the country and written inquiries were made to locate a tourism crisis management plan. The lack of information led to the development of the Myrtle Beach Tourism Crisis Management Manual, to assist the travel and tourism industry respond to and manage natural disasters in an effective manner.