Building Back Better in the Cook Islands: A Focus on the Tourism Sector

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Building Back Better has become a popular catch-phrase supporting post-disaster recovery efforts, representing reconstruction as an opportunity to improve the resilience of communities. Mannakkara and Wilkinson developed a Framework for Building Back Better (BBB) in 2014 to support implementing BBB practices in post disaster recovery. The Framework serves as a comprehensive guide to improve the physical, social and economic conditions of a community during the rebuild. This research analyses the Cook Islands tourism sector in its largest island Rarotonga and its current disaster management practices with respect to BBB principles. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with key tourism businesses and relevant governmental and private institutions. Analysis of the collected data presented evidence of BBB practices incorporated in the current preparedness and recovery procedures for the businesses and government institutions. Good BBB practices currently performed included: improving structural resilience of physical assets, disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness and preparation, and supporting psychological and social recovery. The lack of legislative backing and inconsistent communication and collaboration between the government institutions and tourism stakeholders were the main drawbacks preventing proper BBB practices in the Cook Islands.




Mannakkara, S., Wilkinson, S., Willie, M., & Heather, R. (2018). Building Back Better in the Cook Islands: A Focus on the Tourism Sector. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 212, pp. 824–831). Elsevier Ltd.

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