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Securing Our Ports for Safe Cruising Ports and Tourism Security

Categories: Featured Post, Operations, Risk Management, Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues
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Security Tourism and more

Written by Dr. Peter Tarlow, Tourism & More. 1 November 2016

In much of the world, the month of November is a time when the cruise industry begins to enter into its high season, especially for those ships that frequent warm water tropical ports. Although the cruise industry has had its ups and downs, so far the industry’s ports-of-call have avoided any major terrorism crisis. The same, however, cannot be stated with regard to issues of crime. Today’s travelers and tourists seek out places/experiences where there is a sense of security and safety. Cruise liners bring thousands of people to a port of call, but if there is a perception that the port is dangerous, then passengers may simply choose not to disembark. In the world of cruises, often the cruise is the journey. At times more than the ports-of-call, the cruise itself is the real destination. Contrary to most hotel experiences cruises permit visitors to stay on board and still feel that they have met their vacation goals.

Safety, Security and Surety

In order to maintain a port-of-call’s sense of security and to enhance its reputation while protecting its economy, many communities have established special police units at ports serving sea transportation. Just as at hotels and attractions, ports and their surrounding communities, are centers where visitors often need protection. The busy traveler often is running to/from gates, may have minimal control over his/her luggage, and often has no idea where his/her documents may be. Some ports may be centers of crime, prostitution, and drug dealers. Security specialists are aware that an attack against the site’s infrastructure may not only knocks out the terminals or docks, but also the locale’s reputation and economic viability. Such an attack may also cause cessation of transporting of goods and passengers. An attack at a port might not only causes death, but also would be a major blow to a tourism community’s overall economic vitality. To make a port safer and to help to assure the continued viability of a cruise community’s tourism industry Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions for your consideration.

Port officials must assume that their ports, be they for shipping or air, will be targets of terrorism.  

This caution does not mean that every port will be attacked, but it does mean that any port can be attacked or can become a conduit for an attack. Ports are doorways to the transportation system. Thus, a terrorist may use one port in order to gain access into the sanitized area of another port.

The media today is highly conscious of port security.  

An attack at any airport of seaport (or if an attack is launched from that port) may result in a great deal of negative publicity and economic damage for a long period of time. The cost of reputational recovery far exceeds the cost of security.

Remember that when you are in a different place, you are in a different place!

That means that travelers can often be taken by surprise. Advise travelers that they do not want to take a cab that has not been approved by the authorities, how much of a tip to leave at a restaurant, or even how to determine the value of foreign monies. In a like manner, remind visitors not to walk down a dark street alone, take enough money with them that in case of a robbery the thieves will not become so angry that they do harm. The bottom line is always remembered that even the strongest man can be taken down, especially if he is taken by surprise.

Ports are not only places through which visitors egress, but also ingress into an area.

Thus, if a nation’s airport is not deemed safe, the reputation loss may be felt throughout the entire local tourism industry.    

It is important to recognize that there is a fundamental paradigm shift in the travel industry.  

Old assumptions will no longer hold. From a business perspective these old assumptions are very dangerous. Those parts of the travel and tourism industry that emphasize security will have a good chance of surviving. The venues that provide give good security mixed with good customer service will flourish. Those parts of the travel and tourism industry that hold on to the old way of thinking will fade away.

No one knows everything. Inviting specialists to help train people helps to create a paradigm shift and provides fresh pairs of eyes.

The worst thing a port manager can do is to bring in someone who is not a specialist in both security and travel and tourism. Remember this is not a passing emergency, but a new way in which people think. Port security officers must not only think security but also how that security impacts the economy of an area and the marketing potential of their actions.

It is important to develop security coalitions with all components of your community.  

Ports are not stand-alone communities; they are part of a living community. Make sure that your port security/police department is trained and understand tourism, and that the local tourism industry understands how it needs to cooperate with port security officers. In too many cases, port security personnel and tourism personnel do not even know each other’s names.

Ports and tourism industry leaders must conquer their desire for denial and the belief that all problems can be handled through creative marketing.  

The best crisis management is good risk management. Recognize that no part of the world and no sea or airport is immune from a terrorist attack. Too many parts of the travel and tourism market simply do not believe that an attack can happen to them and therefore fight against security professionals rather than working with them. Do not forget that the media devotes a great amount of coverage to an attack against a tourism area, the fear factor spreads from one locale to entire regions, nations, and even continents. Terrorists are well aware of the role in the media in helping their cause.

Know what are your tourism weak points within your port.  

For example, as people line up at ticket counters, are they secure. Is there a proper stand-off distance between check-in and drop-off areas. How easily can baggage areas be targeted and can baggage easily be stolen?

Make sure that all police personnel and port security personnel are aware of how important tourism security is to port management.  

Most police have never been trained in good tourism security. It is essential to have a person work with your local police who can “translate” between tourism and security issues.

Security and Safety may have different meanings to scholars, but in the world of travel they are one and the same.  

In the new paradigm shift, recognize that poison water and gunfire have the same results: the destruction of your business. Begin to see the relationship between risk management and security. They are two sides of the same coin.

Determine how well your port:

  • Employs duplicate checks of baggage
  • Scans all bags including those which are checked
  • Removes all potential weapons from gift shops that are beyond the security barriers
  • Checks all workers who have access to airplanes while it is at the gate.

In terminals, check and recheck all ventilation systems.  

No one should be allowed to approach a ventilation system who does not have your full confidence. Make sure that contract labor is kept far from areas that can be used as delivery systems for bioterrorism.

Get beyond the fear that too much security will scare the public.  

The public is more frightened of security breaches than it is of security methods. The old paradigm of hiding security professionals is no longer valid. Visible security is the best marketing tool that you can develop.

 

Tourism Tidbits – November 2016 is republished with permission of Tourism Safety Department

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Strengthening the Safety of the Hotel and Hospitality Industry Through First Aid Training

Categories: Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues, Uncategorized
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We can all agree that at all levels within the hotel and hospitality sector we would rather the time worn cliché of ‘Accidents Will Happen’ was not true. However, real life tells us otherwise.

As a duty of care, Management must ensure that staff are looked after and that, in turn, a percentage of whom are trained in essential first aid and health and safety care. An accident or injury could potentially ruin a guest’s vacation. However, a swift and decisive response can mollify what could be a distressing and painful situation for the guest concerned.

When a disruptive event or disaster occurs in the vicinity of a hotel, resort or popular tourist destination employees may find themselves in the role of first responders before professional or specialized assistance can arrive at the scene. Therefore, ensuring that those working within the hotel and hospitality industry are equipped with the skills to administer basic first aid assistance is an important consideration for creating a more secure and safer tourism sector.

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Yohann Maillard, CEO of Bangkok First Aid comments: “People who have an accident or for example a cardiac arrest, naturally are in distress. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) often is fatal. Irreparable damage or death can occur in 4-6 minutes of SCA. In Thailand, paramedics take an average of 8-10 minutes to arrive. However, staff who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED) and first aid skills can make the difference between life and death. CPR does keep the blood flowing to the core organs with some oxygen, allowing time for defibrillation and advanced care by Emergency Medical Services. Immediate CPR & AED can triple a patient’s chance of survival.”hospitality bkkfirstaid02

Building confidence to save lives is Bangkok First Aid’s mission. By providing enjoyable and accredited courses people become empowered and skilled in potentially saving someone’s life. Bangkok First Aid has delivered a number of specialized training courses and sessions to organizations engaged in the hospitality and tourism sector. Please see more information about the work of Bangkok First Aid by visiting the link: www.bangkokfirstaid.com.

 

Text and photos from Bangkok First Aid.

 

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travel Tourism and more

October 2016 – Travel is no doubt a wonderful experience.  It broadens our horizons, permits us to understand new societies, allows us to see things about which we have only dreamt, and gives us the opportunity to see ourselves in entirely new ways and often as others see us.

Unfortunately, when some people travel they may also do things that are both foolish and harmful.  This month’s Tourism Tidbits addresses some of the things that when traveling we want to avoid.  For those in the travel industry, it is essential to understand these sociological phenomena so that they can be taken into account and planned for.  These principles are important because these same sociological phenomena often occur to both business and leisure travelers, to men and to women, to the teenager and to the senior citizen.  When these problems occur, tourists and visitors rarely blame themselves, but rather tend to blame the locale resulting in negative word-of-mouth advertising.

A key point for all tourism professionals is the realization that travelers have choices.  In the case of the leisure market this assumption almost always holds true. In the business word, business travelers are , finding ways to replace some business meetings by other forms of virtual communications.

Tourism industries that believe that they are essential can easily suffer calamities if they are not careful with their customer service and their creation of safe and secure locations.  In the case of leisure travelers, often these travelers assume that the place to which they are traveling is safe and as such often lower their level of caution.

The following principles often reflect some of the common mistakes that we make when it comes to travel and to those who are our customers. Tourism Tidbits offers for your consideration an outline of some of the common mistakes that we all make whenever we travel and phenomena about which we want to be mindful. Part of the challenge of being a tourism professional is advising visitors about security and safety while at the same time not scaring them.  This balanced approach is one of the reasons that tourism (TOPPs) units are so essential. These travel security professionals, be they public or private security officers, are an essential part of tourism’s front line.

– Travel is stressful. No matter what we in the tourism industry want to believe, travel is stressful and stress places us in danger.  Prepare your guests for the stress of travel by having reminding them to have alternative plans, to take needed telephone numbers, and making sure that they carry food and water in case of delays.  Criminals know that when we are under stress we tend not to think, leave things (such a wallets and passports) exposed and tend to speak louder.   Remember when the traveler is under stress; the criminal is not. That means, take the time to remind customers to put their wallets away, not to expose credit cards, and when using public phones or ATM machines to block the access so that someone cannot photograph the person’s code.

– When we travel we often seem to leave our common sense behind.  Part of the reason for this phenomenon may be that we assume that where we are going is safe, or that nothing will happen to us when we are traveling.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Crime exists everywhere and police departments around the world are understaffed and over-stretched. To add to this, recent historical trends have shown that terrorism is a growing problem. For example, the British Journal, The Economist stated that: “And terrorism is spreading. 67 countries saw at least one death last year (2014) compared with 59 the year before. The number of plots by jihadist groups against Western countries has leaped, in particular since September 2014 when an IS spokesman called for its followers to attack those Western countries involved in military efforts in Syria and Iraq. Most plots have failed, though a growing number have been successful. But the terrorists only need to carry out one big plot to succeed.” One new source reported that in 2001 there were some one thousand terrorism attacks around the world. By the year 2015 that number had climbed to 30,000.  It is important to realize that some sources count failed attacks as attacks, and there is no one accepted definition of what is or is not a terrorism attack. Good common sense dictates that it is important to take a two-tier attitude regarding visitors and staff.  Remind them to relax and smile but at the same time be aware and vigilant.

– It is a mistake to assume that people in other places are all good.  It is far better to assume that crime occurs in all parts of the world and take the same precautions that you would take at home.  In the world of travel, there are not only the generalized crimes that can occur anywhere, but also specific crimes that are especially prevalent in travel and tourism.  As such, be careful of such crimes as conmen and crimes of distraction artists (i.e., pickpockets, bag snatchers, credit card thefts). Remember that not everyone who works in the tourism industry is honest, and that violent crime can happen to anyone.

-Remember that when you are in a different place, you are in a different place!  That means that travelers can often be taken by surprise.  Advise travelers that they do not want to take a cab that has not been approved by the authorities, how much of a tip to leave at a restaurant, or even how to determine the value of foreign monies.  In a like manner, remind visitors not to walk down a dark street alone, take enough money with them that in case of a robbery the thieves will not become so angry that they do harm.  The bottom line is always remembered that even the strongest man can be taken down, especially if he is taken by surprise.

– Remember that in most cases, most perpetrators of tourism crime are not caught. That means that prevention is the best protection. Remind visitors to try whenever possible to blend into the local environment. Dress as others dress in that local, do not carry maps and cameras in such a manner as to make you noticeable, and have a sense of where you are going and how much it should cost to get there.

-Try to be respectful of nature.  All too many visitors believe that they are on a movie set rather than in the wild.  Blizzards, wild animals, hurricanes, and tornadoes all kill.  A perfect example of this principle of lack of respect for nature coupled with a lack of common sense is the number of drowning off of Hawaii’s (Ohau) north coast.  Despite the lifeguards and warning signs, there are all too many visitors to Hawaii who are convinced that the Pacific Ocean is a giant swimming pool.

Click here to find other Tourism Tidbits by Dr. Peter Tarlow.

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International Visitor Safety

Categories: Case Study, Infrastructure, Management, Oceania, Operations, Pacific, Public Sector, Return, Visitors
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The National Visitor Safety Program (NVSP) seeks to undertake timely and effective initiatives to ensure international visitors have a safe and enjoyable stay in Australia. To this end ready access to current data and information on visitor injuries and fatalities is critical. To assist in the process and to build upon previous research this study was initiated to work towards developing a system for gathering timely data related to the safety of international visitors.

by Tracey J. Dickson and Margot Hurrell

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International Visitor Safety

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Valuable advice on staying safe throughout the bushfire season by the South Australian Country Fire Service.

by South Australia Country Fire Service

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Preparing yourself and your property to survive a bushfire requires thought and planning. With a written and practised Bushfire Survival Plan and a well-maintained home there is a much better chance of surviving a bushfire.

by South Australia Country Fire Service

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CFS Fact Sheet: Preparing Yourself for Bushfires

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Planning to leave early requires planning and consideration, you need to understand what the triggers are to leave and know what actions you should take before leaving. This Country Fire Service fact sheet will provide you with a plan that can be practised before putting it into action under real circumstances.

by South Australia Country Fire Service

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CFS Fact Sheet: Planning to Leave Early

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The South Australian Country Fire Service has developed a hierarchy of places that can offer relative safety from bushfire. They are broken into three categories, and are called Bushfire Safer Settlements, Bushfire Safer Precincts and Last Resort Refuges. It is important that you know what each of these are, where they are, and what risk you may be exposed to if you use one of these options during a bushfire.

by South Australia Country Fire Service

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CFS Fact Sheet: Bushfire Safer Places

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Once a fire is burning, its behaviour is determined by three main factors – fuel, weather and topography – and understanding how they react in these situations can be the difference between life and death.

by South Australia Country Fire Service

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CFS Fact Sheet: Bushfire Behaviour in Detail

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