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Best Practice for Crisis Management

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. A public health emergency of international concern, which caused a devastating impact on the travel industry as governments responded with lockdowns, quarantines, travel restrictions and border closures to contain the virus.


The cumulative impact had huge implications on the operational and financial resilience of many youth travel organisations, but particularly within the cultural exchange sector as participants tend to scatter around the world and many stakeholders are involved in the programmes. Parents, host families, agents and sponsors: all needed appropriate assistance.
Hearing all these stories and looking back on the huge efforts that these organisations have made in response to this crisis, the Cultural Exchange Panel concluded that there was still a lot to learn about crisis management and htat sharing best practices would help fellow organisations improve their crisis preparedness and strengthen collaboration within the sector.

Cultural Exchange Best Practice Working Group

The Cultural Exchange Working Group was established in August 2020 with the aim of facilitating dialogue and enhancing collaboration between WYSE Members on the topic of international crisis management. The Working Group is committed to delivering best practice recommendations in order that businesses within the sector are in the best possible shape to withstand and effectively respond to a potential future crisis. Ideally this could form the basis for an International Crisis Task Force, broadly agreed with WYSE members and representatives of the Cultural Exchange Sector.

Members of the Working Group

Robyn Walker

Chair of the Working Group
Cenet, USA

Marina Seet


Iza Gyuricza

Mariapia Inurritegui

Rafael Espinoza

Alexis Blackburn-Rose

Laura Sukgen

Troy International,

Darya Modestova

Goals and achievements

February 2021

The WYSE webinar “Stronger together: Best practice for crisis management” was held to inform WYSE Members about the work of the Best Practice Working Group to date. A draft of the Best Practice Guide for Crisis Management was presented for review and discussion on how the practices can be implemented.

February 2021

The Best Practice Guide for Crisis Management was formalised and is available for download here.

Next steps

  1. Outline a set of standards for the industry
  2. Establish a self-declaration/ code of conduct with mandatory, best practice and voluntary compliance guidelines on crisis preparedness and mobilised response
  3. Announce self-declaration and share it at WETM-IAC Online (May 2021)
  4. Establish communication platform for the Best Practice Guide, resources and training tools
  5. Announce platform and begin to establish an organised task force at WYSTC (September 2021)
  6. Establish independent standards

Future steps will be to:

  • Create a community platform where accurate crisis information can be shared
  • Develop a standardised training workshop