OPINION: Tour operators take risk with bad PR

A good reputation earns businesses a willingness from stakeholders to overlook minor operational flaws. Without one, breaches of normal practice become a major cause for concern.

This logic is being ignored by tour operators who send groups of teenagers to Mediterranean resorts on the promise of plenty of alcohol and sex.

Images of bare-chested youths swigging vodka and having sex on the beach will have different effects on different audiences. To 18-year-olds, they offer the prospect of an exciting holiday; for parents, they are a worry; to the local authorities, a disaster.

And to those who manage the reputations of tour operators, this positioning runs the risk of slipping from fun to recklessness. The PR response of some - to abrogate responsibility for such behaviour when it was clearly promised in the promotional material and is relentlessly incentivised on site - is both disingenuous and offensive.

If a good reputation is a license to operate, a shattered one is a real threat to the future of a business. Companies will only have themselves to blame when that is played to its conclusion.

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