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Facing both old and new security challenges

 

The first quarter of 2017 began in ways that were not that different from the end of 2016.  The tourism industry continues to be a target of terrorism and acts of crime.  For example, France has recently faced a series of attacks, some successful and some thankfully stopped.  Terrorism continues to be a problem in much of the Middle East and crime and violence continue to stalk Latin America.   Brazil has had the additional problem of a police strike in one of its northern cities.  Often these actions are highly publicized and this negative publicity in turn encourages those who seek violence. Acts of violence do not only cause death and destruction but are intimately tied to economic undulations.  Because tourism, and much of travel, is dependent not only on economic realities but also on economic perceptions, what occurs in the economy impacts the entire tourism world. It is still too early to note the impact of the ”Trump effect” on the long-term national and international economy.  We may hesitantly predict that European economies (and the euro) will continue to weaken. Europe suffers not only from post-immigration stress, but also from deep demographic problems combined with a lack of resources. The continent is wedged in between an ascending United States and a Russia that is flexing its muscles.  How these economic and political realities will impact European tourism will be fascinating to observe.

 

For this reason tourism officials will need to be much more sophisticated in the way that they view the world.  It is no longer viable for tourism and travel officials to receive their information from only one source. In the US and Europe with the collapse of the classical media, more and more of travel and tourism’s customers receive their news from social and non-traditional media outlets.  Tourism and travel professionals must take into account that political instability is now a major concern in Africa and Latin America, with the Middle East, Europe, and North America open to terrorism attacks and Latin America still suffering from high levels of crime and drug trafficking.  Brazil, along with much of Latin America, is suffering from both issues of crime and issues of health and sanitation.

 

An additional problem, especially in the field of tourism security (or better stated: tourism wellbeing) is the fact that salaries remain low causing both recruitment and personnel retention challenges.  High turnover levels make training difficult and often each time a person leaves, the information is lost.  To make matters even more challenging these are often the person with whom visitors come in contact.  The formula tends to guarantee low job satisfaction and low levels of customer satisfaction.  If tourism is to be a sustainable product then it needs to turn part-time jobs into careers without pricing itself out of the market. If the travel and tourism industry hopes to continue to grow it will need trained personnel, and a willing and enthusiastic workforce at every level from the managerial, to skilled workers to the semi-skilled worker.

 

  • Turning to issues of tourism wellbeing.  We note the following problems:
  • Issues of gang violence
  • Issues of health and the potential spread of contagious diseases leading to pandemics
  • Issues of crime spilling into centers
  • Issues of acts of terrorism
  • Media produced panics or psychological panics.

 

Many of these problems may occur in places that are open to:

 

  • The generation of mass casualties
  • Hold some form of national or international iconic value
  • Are easily accessed by the media
  • And in the case of terrorism, the long-term consequences are not only in the physical harm done to the victims but also in the economic hard that impacts the tourism industry directly and other local industries indirectly.

 

Here are some of the basics of terrorism and tourism about which that travel and tourism officials need to be aware:

 

Not all attacks against tourism need to be violent.  Terrorists do not only need to use deadly force, they can create a tourism crisis by means of cyber attacks, social media or simply creating rumors that create fear within the traveling public.  In today’s media interconnected world news spreads at extremely rapid speeds and can cause fear and cancellations not only at a particular locale but also across the globe.

-Despite the publicity and the media, statistically terrorism still strikes relatively few people and even fewer tourists.  The death of anyone is tragic, but a visitor is more likely to die from a road accident of a safety hazard then from an act of terrorism.  On the other hand, it is rare for the media to spend a great deal of time on road accidents. Tourism centers need to develop good media plans and have them in reserve so that if an incident should occur they are not developing a plan at the last minute.

-When acts of terrorism do occur tourism is often a magnet for terrorists.  Not only does tourism provide many “weak targets: but tourism values are the antithesis of terrorists’ values. Furthermore, the tourism industry is so large and diverse that it provides multiple targets for those seeking to create economic chaos.

-Thus the tourism industry faces a paradox.  Although most tourists are never impacted by acts of terrorism, when it does occur the media publicity is such that the reporting on terrorist attack’s impact is out of proportion to the act itself. Due to high levels of publicity a terrorist attack in any one location raises traveler anxiety levels around the world.  Due to the fact that terrorism is now a worldwide phenomena, an attack in any one location means that visitors are not only increasingly fearful but that these attacks may cause people to cease to travel or to travel less, thus impacting the entire industry.

-Attacks against non-tourist specific locations still act as passive attacks on tourism.  Terrorism is based on fear and the greater the public fears being away from home, the more precarious is the tourism industry’s situation.  Terrorists do not need to target a tourism industry actively to do it damage, a passive attack or a failed, but publicized attack is still a success from the terrorists’ perspective.

-Terrorism is no longer confined to major tourism centers.  The California terrorism incident demonstrates that terrorism can occur in what may have previously been considered unlikely locales.  This means that areas that were considered “safe” need to also develop counter terrorism plans.

 

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. From Tourism & More, Inc.

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#TravelEnjoyRespect

The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

 

To that end, please explore the official IY2017 website at www.tourism4development2017.org, which is their primary tool for coordinating the worldwide celebrations of the year, and on which more than 200 events and activities have already been registered. The UNWTO kindly invites you to upload your IY2017-related initiatives, as well as to share your best practices, stories and/or knowledge. Your initiatives will be visible on the website’s calendar and global map, and you will be able to use the IY2017 logo in all your communications. Kindly note that all the information they receive will be included in their final report to the UN General Assembly in 2018.

Furthermore, UNWTO is organizing a series of events and activities, the details of which you can find in the attached document. For instance, they are running a consumer-oriented awareness-raising campaign “Travel.Enjoy.Respect.” with six useful tips for responsible travel, and would very much like you to help disseminate it as broadly as possible. In addition, UNWTO is organizing 14 IY2017 Official Events, as well as producing two flagship reports related to the themes and objectives of the IY2017, for which your support and input would be more than welcome and on which more info will follow shortly. As part of their awareness-raising activities, they have also initiated a Special Ambassadors programme, currently comprising seven high-profile individuals who will help spread the relevant messages regarding tourism as an agent for positive change.

Read more: PATA Sustainability & IY2017 Initiatives

 

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Reviewing Some Fundamentals Of The Travel & Tourism Industry

Categories: Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues
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fundamentals Tourism and more

February 2017: Part 2 of a two part series. Part 1 appeared in January

Last month we looked at some of the fundamentals of a successful tourism business or industry.  Although every local is different, and it is a basic principle to emphasize the unique and different aspects of your business or locale, human beings are basically the same around the world and the best principles of good tourism are the same across both cultures and languages.

Tourism is the telling of a story in which the visitor becomes part of the tale. To travel is to seek the different, to find a way to leave the humdrum of daily life and enter into a world of non-realities. This basic principal means that the tourism industry must allow its visitors to experience the unique and special in a safe and secure environment. Remember we are selling memories and it is our job to help our customers create memories that can be shared.

Do you understand your tourism product in the same way as your customers see it?  For example, you may say that you are a family destination, but if your customers view you from another perspective, it will take a tremendous amount of marketing change the image.  Before launching a new marketing campaign, consider how your destination makes its clientele feel, why people chose your destination over the competition, and what emotional benefits do your visitors receive when they chose your destination.

A smile is universal.  Perhaps the most important technique to learn in tourism is the way to smile.  A sincere smile can compensate for many an error. Travel and tourism is built around principles of high expectations, many of which never get met.  This gap between the image and the reality is not always the fault of the industry. There is little that the industry can do to make a rainstorm depart or to stop an unexpected blizzard.  What we can do, is show people that we care and be creative.  Most people can forgive an act of nature but few customers will forgive a state of callousness or lack of caring.

Tourism is a customer driven experience. In the last few years too many tourism and visitor centers have worked hard at driving their customers from human-based experiences to web page experiences.  The logic behind this move is that it will save large corporations such as airlines a great deal of money on wages.  The risk that these companies will have to consider is that tourists develop relationships with people rather than web sites. As tourist and traveler corporations drive people to web sites, they should be ready to accept the fact that customer loyalty will decrease and that their frontline personnel’s actions become even more important.

We may talk about educating our customers but remember that they are not in school and are not paying anyone to get a grade.  All too often, especially on guided tours, we have the false notion that our customers are our students.  Guides need to speak less and allow visitors to experience more. The average adult, on tour, stops listening after about 5-7 minutes. In a like manner too many police departments and security organizations falsely believe that they can educate the visitor regarding personal safety and security. Assume the visitor will pay no attention and develop security programs based on this simple fact.

Be authentic. Nothing gets unmasked more easily that a lack of authenticity. Do not try to be what you are not but rather be the best that you can be.  Tourism locations that are authentic and natural tend to be the most successful.  To be authentic does not mean only forests or beaches, but a unique presentation of cultural awareness.

Visitors may forget a sunset but rarely forget a good meal.  Emphasize the culinary aspects of your tourism industry. Use whenever local products, presented in both colorful and unique fashions, promote local recipes.  Food can change a good trip into a memorable one.

Seek out and develop new talent. Tourism is hard work and many people find the industry too hard. Be on the lookout for new and creative employees, seek people who are gregarious and extroverted, and people with both patience and a sense of adventure.

Use multiple methodologies to understand trends in tourism. There is a tendency in tourism to use purely qualitative or quantitative analytical methodologies.  Both are important and both can provide additional insights. Problems occur when we become so dependent on one form of analysis that we ignore the other.  Remember people surveyed along with computerized data are not always truthful. Although these methods may be highly valid their reliability factors may be lower than what we believe. Polling errors both in the US and the UK ought to remind us of the principle of “garbage in/garbage out”.

When in doubt, the right thing to do is the best thing to do. Don’t cut corners because times are hard. This is the time to build a reputation for integrity by doing the right thing. Make sure to give customer’s their money’s worth rather than appearing to be selfish and greedy. The hospitality business is about doing for others, and nothing advertises a place better than giving that something extra in a period of economic constriction. In a like manner, managers should never cut their underlings salaries before they cut their own. If reduction in forces are necessary, a manager should personally handle the situation, present a good-bye token and never be absent on the day of a lay-off.

When the going gets rough, be calm. People come to us for tranquility and to forget their problems, not to learn about our problems. Our guests should never be burdened with our economic difficulties. Remember they are our guests and not our counselors. Tourism ethics requires that your personal life stay in your home. If you are too agitated to work, then stay home. Once one is at the workplace, however, we have a moral responsibility to concentrate on the needs of our guests and not on our own needs. The best way to be calm in a crisis is to be prepared. For example, in the post-September 11th world, every community needs to have a tourism security plan. In a like manner, your community or attraction needs to train employees on how to handle health risks, travel changes, and personal security issues.

 

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.
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Tourism and more

January 2017: Part one of a two-part series

Once again the travel and tourism industry faces both new and on-going challenges.  Travel and tourism cannot be separated from the world context in which they operate.  Be that context political states of war, or one of health issues or of economic undulations, what occurs throughout the world touches every aspect of tourism.  It is for this reason that every once in a while it is good for travel and tourism professionals to take a step back and to review at least some of the basic fundamentals of their industry. We all claim to know these fundamental principles, but all too often in the “madness of life and work” we need to be reminded of the basic principles of tourism, of what we do and why we do it.

To get the New Year off to a great start, Tourism Tidbits provides you both this month and next month with a listing of these principles and how they impact every aspect of our industry.

1. Travel and Tourism professionals need to enjoy what they do and to like their customers.  Travel and tourism is about having fun and if your employees are you do not come to work with a smile on your face then it would be better to seek another job.  Visitors quickly ascertain our moods and professional attitude.  The nice you are the more successful your company or local tourism community is going to be.

2. It cannot be stated too often, that most leisure travel and tourism are choice made by the consumer who is using his or her expendable income and time.  In all but a few cases, and with the exception of business travel and some forms of health travel, the customer does not have to choose to travel.  This simple fact means that tourists often frighten easily and may have unrealistic expectations.  It does the travel expert no good to become either frustrated or annoyed with his or her customer.  Although the customer may technically not always be right, the customer always has the option of not traveling.  In that case, it is the professional or the professional’s business that in the end suffers.  This fundamental principle is so important that around the world places that provide clean efficient and friendly service and products prospered in 2016.  Others, who took their visitors for granted, had disappointing results.  A basic rule of tourism and travel is, if you treated your customer fairly, provided a good product in a safe and clean environment then your industry did just fine.  If on the other hand, prices are not in line with your competition, service is poor and security is weak, the opposite is bound to occur.  Consider then the following fundamentals of tourism:

a. Tourism is security dependent.  In a world where one can experience “virtual” travel, where meetings can be held on a computer, and where the traveler is exposed to twenty-four hour news cycles, our customers no where it is safe and where it is not.  Countries such a France, Turkey and Egypt saw major declines in tourism because they were perceived not to be safe.  It is essential that you create a safe and secure atmosphere. To create such an atmosphere local security professionals must be part of the planning from the beginning.  Tourism security is more than merely having police or security professionals at a site. Tourism security requires psychological and sociological analysis, the use of hardware, interesting and unique uniforms, and careful planning that integrates the security professional into the enchantment experience.

b. Strive to provide an enchanting travel and tourism experience.  Tourism is not about education or school but about enchantment and the nurturing of the spirit.  A lack of enchantment means that there are fewer and fewer reasons to want to travel and to participate in the tourism experience.  For example, if every shopping mall looks the same or if the same menu exists in every hotel chain, why not simply stay at home? Why would anyone want to subject him/herself to dangers and hassles of travel, if our industry destroys the journey’s enchantment by rude and arrogant front line personnel?  To help your locale or attraction make money put a bit of the romance and enchantment back into your tourism product

3. Love your customers!  If your employees “hate” tourists then the message they are giving is one that destroys a sense of being special.  Often managers are more interested in their own ego trips then in the vacationer’s experience.  An employee who is unique, funny, or makes people go away feeling special is worth thousands of dollars in advertising.  Every tourism manager and hotel GM ought to do every job in his or her industry at least once a year. Often tourism managers push so hard for the bottom line that they forget the humanity of their employees.  Be with the visitors and see the world through their eye.

4. In tourism a perception may not be true but its consequences are always true.  Negative reputations are not easy to erase and negative perceptions can destroy a tourism industry.  If our visitors perceive that they are not wanted, or are seen as easy prey, then they will soon find alternatives.

5. Never forget that there is a lot of competition in the tourism industry.  It behooves tourism industry executives to remember that there are lots of locales that have beaches, sun, serf, good restaurants, mountains and rivers. In today’s interlocked world major cities no longer sell only their local products but provide wide variety of products from around the world.  Basic principle: if you can get it there, you can probably get it here.

6. Our clients have more information than ever before.  The worst thing for a tourism industry is to be caught lying. It takes a long time to rebuild a reputation and in today’s world of social media, one mistake can spread like wildfire.

7. Marketing can aid in product development but it cannot substitute for product(s) development.  A basic rule of tourism is that you cannot market what you do not have.  Remember that the most successful form of marketing is word of mouth.  Spend less money on classical marketing strategies and more money on customer service and product development.

8. Emphasize the unique in your business or community.  Do not try to be all things to all people.  Represent something that is special.  Ask yourself: What makes your community or attraction different and unique from your competitors?  How does your community celebrate its individuality?  If you were a visitor to your community would you remember it a few days after you had left or would it be just one more place on the map?  For example, do not just offer an outdoor experience, but individualize that experience, make your hiking trails special, or develop something special about your beaches or river experience.  If, one the other hand, your community or destination is a creation of the imagination then allow the imagination to run wild and continually create new experiences.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.

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Tourism Tidbits: Providing Tourism Cheer

Categories: Community, People and Places, Tourism Resilience
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Tourism and more

Wishing Everyone a Happy Chanukah and a Merry Christmas

December 2016: Tourism this past year has faced many challenges, from a slow economy in Europe to ISIS attacks, from medical issues such as Zika to waves of terrorism in Europe and wars in the Middle East.  For many around the world, despite the fact that this has not been an easy year, the month of December creates a great deal of “light” and “hope’. In the northern Hemisphere the lights of Christmas and Chanukah provide great beauty during the dead of winter. In the southern Hemisphere this is the beginning of the summer holidays and a time for rest and relaxation. December then is a time when most of the world seeks cheer and hope and looks to break the bleakness of everyday life with special events, with celebrations and with a chance to find beauty in life.

Tourism has a major role to play in helping all of us add cheer and a sense of joie de vivre to our lives. Despite the high cost of airline tickets and poor service along the continued weakening of the economy in many western nations, people seek the gift of travel.

Perhaps the greatest gift the travel and tourism industry can give the public is to find new and innovative ways to return at least some of the romance and enchantment to the world of hospitality. That means remembering that our guests are not mere statistical numbers but rather that each traveler represents a world unto him/herself and quality must always override quantity.

To help your locale or attraction put a bit of the romance and enchantment back into your industry, Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions.

Emphasize the unique in your community rather than the standardized.   Do not try to be all things to all people.  Be something that is special.  Ask yourself: What makes your community or attraction different and unique from your competitors?  How does your community celebrate its individuality?  If you were a visitor to your community would you remember it a few days after you had left or would it be just one more place on the map?  Emphasize unique shopping and dining experiences. If travel means nothing more than eating at the same restaurants no matter in where you are then it is merely a hassle rather than a memory.   For example, do not just offer an outdoor experience, but individualize that experience, explain what makes your hiking trails special, and your beaches or river experience with ideas from ecology, history or geology. If your community or destination is a creation of the imagination then allow the imagination to run wild and continually create new experiences.

Create enchantment through product development.  Advertise less and give more.  Always exceed expectations and never overstate your case. The best form of marketing is a good product and good service. Provide what your promise at prices that are reasonable.  The public understands that seasonal locations have to earn their year’s wages in a few months. Higher prices may be acceptable but gauging never is. If the other communities are building golf courses, then build something else, think of your community or destination as another country.  People do not want the same food, language and styles that they have back home. Sell not only the experience but also the memory by being different from other destinations.

Take the time to get excited about your community and then share that passion with other.  Ask ten neighbors what places they most like about your community and then make sure that you visit these locales.  You cannot get other people excited about your community if you are not excited about it.  Play tourism in your own community. See what you like and dislike about it and then emphasize the good and fix the bad.

Think of why it is great to be a tourist in your location. Do you offer special types of food that want to make people forget for a few days about counting calories, provide unique experience, or give people a chance to unwind?  Does your locate have unique music or can a visitor have a once in a lifetime experience when visiting?  Can your locale provide the visitor with a chance to leave his or her schedule and turn every hour into a happy hour?  These are the basics that make being a visitor and tourist fun.

Assess the areas of your tourism experience offerings that destroy enchantment and then fix them.  For example are your guests subjected to:

  • lines that are too long
  • a lack of shelter from the weather, sun, wind, cold etc.
  • rude service personnel
  • personnel that neither listen nor care
  • traffic jams and airport hassles
  • a lack of adequate parking
  • no one who is willing to listen or own a complaint?

Remember that tourism is first about people.  Tourism is about fun and you cannot help others to have fun if you dislike your job!  Make your job something special, do something goofy every day and find new ways to break your daily routine.   Remember that you need to be less interested in yourself and more interested in the vacationer’s experience.  An employee who is unique, funny, or makes people go away feeling special is worth thousands of dollars in advertising.  Every tourism manager and hotel GM ought to do every job in his or her industry at least once a year.  Often tourism managers push so hard for the bottom line that they forget the humanity of their employees.  Be with the visitors and see the world through their eyes.

Enchantment starts with caring and appearances.   The rule “people first” is an essential part of tourism, but along with good customer services, comes the way your locale, business and community appear.  In tourism appearances matter!  Develop a group of specialists in such fields as lighting, landscaping, color coordination, exterior and interior decorations, street appearances and city themes, parking lots and internal transportation service.  Utilitarian devices, such as the San Francisco trolley cars, can be vehicles of enchantment if they enhance the environment and add something special to place and help to differentiate it from other locales.

Create lists about what is special about your community and then make sure that the local population is aware of these attributes.  All too often locals believe that there is no reason anyone should come to their community and in fact there is nothing to do.  Run regular newspaper and TV spots that emphasize information such as:

  • What special attractions you community has
  • Special nature trails and outdoors activities
  • What to do when there is inclement weather
  • When festivals and special events occur
  • What are some of the special traditions and customs in your community
  • What are unique shopping opportunities

Remember hospitality starts with people so the more personal interactions that you can create the more positive is the memory that visitors take away from their visit to your locale.

Create a safe and secure atmosphere.  There can be little enchantment if people are afraid.  To create such an atmosphere local security professionals must be part of the planning from the beginning.  Tourism security is more than merely having police or security professionals hanging around a site.  Tourism security requires psychological and sociological analysis, the use of hardware, interesting and unique uniforms and careful planning that integrates the security professional into the enchantment experience. Enchantment oriented communities realize that everyone in the community has a part to play in creating a positive tourism experience and one that creates a unique and special environment not only for the visitor but also for those who live in the community.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. Read more on Tourism & More, Inc.

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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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Mauritius Emergency Preparedness Conference Highlights the Need to Strengthen the Resilience of the Tourism Sector

Categories: Tourism Resilience
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Produced by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)

The iPrepare Business facility of ADPC participated in the inaugural Emergency Planning Forum in Port Louis, Mauritius on 31 August 2016. The Emergency Preparedness conference, organized by Celero logistics group was a valuable exercise in facilitating dialogue between partners from government, media, regional organizations as well as a variety of private sector representatives  from the Mauritian media, tourism and telecommunication sectors, as well as key regional organizations such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretary General represented by Ambassador H.E. K V Bhagirath, provided key perspectives and inputs into the day’s proceedings.

As well as informing the participants on ADPC’s work to integrate business, community and government for building more resilient societies, the iPrepare Business facility delivered an interactive activity session on ‘Preparing for Business Continuity Planning (BCP)’.

The session focused on four key sectors in the Mauritian context: PR & Media; Business & Technology; Supply Chain & Export and Tourism based on the innovation approach of the iPrepare Business facility under ADPC.

The exercise encouraged stakeholders from these different sectors to consider the value of BCP and take steps towards being better prepared for events which hold the potential to disrupt their operations, including natural disasters.
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Furthermore, Mr. Sen Ramsamy, Managing Director of the Mauritius based firm Tourism Business Intelligence delivered a presentation on the need for a more resilient and sustainable tourism sector which is more actively engaged in Emergency Preparedness efforts alongside other key stakeholders such as government.  Mr. Ramsamy’s presentation is available here:

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The key outcome of the Emergency Preparedness Conference was to identify ways forward for increasing private sector engagement for resilience strengthening efforts in the country as well as contributing to efforts for strengthening general disaster management arrangements by clarifying key gaps, challenges and potential areas across a number of key sectors including the tourism and hospitality sector.

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Mass versus Boutique Tourism: The advantages and disadvantages of both

Categories: Tourism Resilience, Uncategorized
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Mass versus Boutique Tourism

August 2016 – A major debate and buzz word within the tourism industry is what is often called “sustainable tourism.”  In reality there is no one definition of what the word means and even less people are sure of how to apply the term.  The word has become so over used that often it has become meaningless.  Often, but not always, the debate around sustainable tourism revolves around the concept of “mass tourism,” another word without a precise definition. The literature is filled with questions such as:

  1. How many tourists are too many?
  2. Are there tourism cohorts that threaten the tourism environment?
  3. If too many (or too few) tourists arrive, does that produce social and economic challenges that can gnaw at the very fabrics of a tourism industry?

We might call the opposite of mass tourism, boutique tourism. Once again there are different definitions of boutique tourism and how it defers from mass tourism.  Some of the differences found in the literature are that boutique tourism is similar to niche tourism in that it is planned around specific activities such as cultural tourism, ecological tourism, educational, or medical tourism. Others argue that boutique tourism promotes tourism during off-peak seasons.  Still others state that boutique tourism is often self-planned while mass tourism is often a product sold as a commodity in which price is a function of the laws of economy of scales.

To help your locale decide which (or both) forms of tourism work best for you, Tourism Tidbits presents several comparisons and ideas as to creating the best fit for your tourism community.

There is no doubt that tourism is a big business and despite the problems that have arisen due to terrorism it is getting bigger.  It is reported by the website “sustaining tourism,” that by 2020 there are expected to be some 1.5 billion international tourists, creating over 11% of all the world’s jobs.  Assuming that these numbers are even close to being correct, tourism’s environmental impact is huge. For example, many tourism locations are in places where water is scarce, yet almost all studies show that when we travel we tend to use more water than when we are at home.  This figure is especially important when we take into account that only a small proportion of the world’s water (3%) is potable, although over 70% of the planet is water.

  • Mass tourism is typified by some of the following criteria: Mass tourism tends to sell the tourism product to large groups. It has the advantage that the tourism program is highly regimented and it focuses on specific well-known tourism sites.  In the world of shopping, its visitors tend to be more allocentric than psychocentric, tend to buy more souvenirs than big ticket items, and seek high levels of commodity. For example, mass tourism products provide tours in the local language and often provide large numbers of social gatherings.
  • Boutique tourism products offer a different set of criteria.  The boutique tourism product often caters more to smaller groups of families or intimate friends. It allows for spontaneity in site/sight selection. Boutique tourists often seek the more unusual and are not afraid of language or cultural difficulties.  Boutique oriented tourists tend to shy away from large crowds and often purchase fewer souvenirs, but rather may concentrate on a few larger ticket items. On the whole, boutique tourists will seek out local experiences, local foods, and local products.  Although it is argued that boutique tourism has a low impact on the local culture, in reality a better way of describing this impact would be a “different” impact.  Whenever two cultures meet there is an impact.  Mass tourism tends to be restricted to specific locations; boutique tourism is less “dense,” but more dispersed through a locale. In small locales, both forms of tourism will impact the local culture.
  • A locale does not need to live an either-or-existence.  Part of good sustainable tourism is knowing what your locale wishes to be and if your desires meet with reality.  This fact means that the tourism industry dare not forget that it is the local population that makes up not only the voting population, but also large proportions of the tourism work force. These local employees come in contact with visitors from different cultures on a daily basis. Each type of visitor group brings its own challenges. The essential part of tourism is not trying to avoid change but rather to manage change, and seek tourism populations that are in harmony with the local social, cultural and physical environment.
  • Use technology to be gracious to the environment and at the same time be good hosts.  Think through which problems your locale has and what technologies may exist to deal with these environmental challenges. Will a desalinization plant provide a major new source of potable water? Can garbage be recycled to provide cheap and inexpensive fuels? Can the sun be a source of heating and can drone technology be used to replace wasteful police patrols?  None of these are perfect solutions but all of these combined with creative thought can provide jobs and at the same time protect the tourism environment and industry.
  • Make sure that the local public understands your goals and aspirations.  Some local populations may have a negative perception about tourism.  It is essential that the local population be part of the process and that it understands what the relationship is between a good tourism product and their quality of life. No one wants to live in a place filled with garbage, sidewalks that are broken, and air pollution. These are the building blocks of tourism.  Having the public on your side not only means political success but it also means that you have an “army” of smiles and volunteers seeking to guarantee your locale’s tourism success.

 

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article at Tourism & More, Inc

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