As the number of disasters and crises affecting the tourism industry increases, it is becoming necessary to understand the nature of these disasters and how to manage and limit the impacts of such incidents. This paper defines crises and disasters before discussing the area of crisis communication management and crisis communication in the tourism industry. The paper then applies the foot and mouth disease (FMD) which occurred in the United Kingdom to crisis communication theory at a national level (by examining the response of the British Tourist Authority) and at a local level (by examining the response of a District Council). The response was limited in part because of a lack of preparedness, but also due to the nature of the foot and mouth outbreak, and the speed and severity of international media coverage. Action was taken in the emergency phase of the crisis and was reactive involving inconsistency in developing key messages to stakeholders, partly due to confusion and a lack of information at the national level. Recovery marketing was also limited due to the length of time of the disease outbreak. This paper provides lessons for destinations and organisations are discussed which may help develop crisis communication strategies for tourism organisations.