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By Dr. Peter Tarlow from Tourism & More

 

Credit: Tourism & More Inc.

 

TOURISM & MORE’S

 

“TOURISM TIDBITS”

June 2017

Some of the Best Practices in Tourism Security, Risk Management and Crisis Recovery, Part 1

 

This June we shall be holding the 23rd Annual Las Vegas International Tourism Safety and Security conference and in honor of our conference, this month’s Tourism Tidbits focuses on issuesT of security and safety. 

Although the public, media, and politicians expect continuous 100% safety and security, reality is that total security does not exist.  What is true of the non-tourism and travel world is even more so in the world of travel and tourism. Not only are tourism and traveling security problems often more challenging, but the traveling public can also easily be frightened, and in the case of leisure travel decide simply not to visit a specific locale.  Furthermore, many tourism professionals are frighten by the topic and provide more lip service to the subject than real substance.

To help you think through some of the issues and finds methods to confront these ever changing challenges, Tourism Tidbits presents you with the following ideas for your consideration: 

-Never forget that all travel security and safety begins with a sense of hospitality and caring.  Customer service is the foundation of any security program. Employees need to remember that they should not treat others in a way that they would not want others to treat them.  Customers are not the enemy; they are the industry’s raison d’être.  From the moment a traveler leaves his/her home until the moment that s/he returns the industry needs to project an image of we care, of creating an environment in which customers know that they are not prisoners or cattle but respected guests.

-Understand that in most cases (drugs being a major exception) acts of crime and acts of terrorism are different.  It is rare that poverty is a root cause of either crime or terrorism, and the two social illnesses have a very different interaction with tourism.  Crime has a parasitic relationship with tourism that is to say if there is no tourism then there is no tourism crime.  Although, terrorists may use crime as a means to fund their projects, their ultimate goal is the destruction of tourism and the economic prosperity that it produces around the world.

 
-The most effective security is proactive rather than reactive. This means find ways to layer your security and be aware of where the security weaknesses may be.  Know your property layout and remember that there are no 100% safe places in any building Use combinations of a physical security presence plus technology, such as surveillance, makes sure all your bases are covered. 


-Know local laws!  Hoteliers must know their responsibilities for security within local laws and regulations. Knowing whether issues would result in criminal or civil liabilities can influence security protocols.  Be aware of terror trends: Not every attack is the same.  Over the past several years, many terror events have “evolved to be locally inspired or involve locally trained citizens”.  The newest “trends” in attacks against hotels are small-scale, high-body-count attacks that draw global media attention. Nevertheless, do not forget that terrorism is ever changing and what is true this year may be different next year.

-Partner Simple partnerships with local law enforcement are an easy, low-cost way to keep security top of mind. Invite your local police to spend a night in the hotel or have dinner there.  The better the police understand the property’s security and emergency protocols and see the capabilities, the faster they can react in case of an emergency or advise you on simple solutions as to ways to stop and attack before it occurs. Ask your police department to educate hotel staff on what their own capabilities are and what emergencies they can and cannot handle.  Then develop a formal plan with the local police department and be sure that they have a copy of the plan

-Tourism security does not exist in a vacuum.  That means that tourism security is part of the overall local environment.  If a particular city is not safe, then eventually that insecurity will impact the local hotels, attractions and transportation systems.  What that means is that the tourism industry needs not only to ask for protection but also that it needs to work with local community leaders to bring down the overall crime rates.  For example, communicate with local organizations that seek to lower crime rates.  The bottom line is that what takes place outside of the hotel impacts what occurs inside of the hotel. Regular meetings between government officials, tourism officials, and local managers can save time and lives, and it can reduce from what might have been a major incident into a minor one.   In today’s world security not only adds to the bottom line, it can be a major marketing tool.


-Have multiple plans in place prior to an event and not after the event.  In cases of crises, crisis management is essential, but tourism and travel officials need to ask themselves if the crisis might have been lessened in its severity or even avoided if they had had good proactive risk management plans.  Crises come in all sorts of sizes.  A terrorism attack is a crisis on a large scale, but there are a million small inconveniences that government regulators have imposed on tourism that have created a sense of continual mini-crises.  When tourists need to factor terrorism hassles into their travel plans, many people may choose other methods of communication, leaving the industry in a business crisis. The bottom line is that many small personal crises may produce large industry crises.

-In an age of insecurity tourism officials must make sure that their security agents are not only well trained in every aspect of security including the customs and cultural habits of their customers, but also well paid.  For example, some cultures tend to be more trusting than others and different cultures may have distinct patterns for what is acceptable or not for female guests. It is essential that tourism management develop security patterns that meet not only the local environment but also meet the cultural needs of their guests. In a business climate as unstable as the current one, it is essential that security personnel be the best, that they receive regular news updates, and be able to act not only quickly, but in a caring and professional manner with travelers.  It does no good to have people well trained and then leave the field because of low pay.

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A special reminder: The XXIV International Las Vegas Tourism Security and Safety Conference is June 12-14.  To register please visit: www.touristsafety.org

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From Tourism & More, Inc.

May 2017

We only have to see photos of people praying in Mecca, visiting the Vatican, washing in the Ganges, or attending a religious festival at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to know that both religion and religious pilgrimages play a major role in tourism.  Religious tourism even bleeds into the world of “secular faith” as proven by the millions of people each year who make a “pilgrimage” to places such as Washington, DC or treat their favorite football team almost as if it were a religious icon

People in the world of tourism should not be surprised by this phenomenon.  Faith based visitations speak directly to the emotions and tourism is all about the “experience” of being there. Although we do not like to think of religion as being connected to business, the reality is that religion is a major business and with a great deal impact for on the tourism industry.  In fact, there is much that tourism professionals can learn from the world of religion and how religion speaks to the very soul of its adherents.

One of the oldest forms of tourism is religious or faith based tourism.  The Bible speaks of ascending to Jerusalem at least three times a years for each of the Biblical harvest festivals.  Likewise the Islamic world is famous for the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. Other cities around the world have developed religious tourism.  People from around the world visit locations such as:  Fatima in Portugal, and Lourdes in France.

Although there are many differences between travel by the faithful to a religious site and a theme park, interestingly enough there are also many parallels between what would appear to be two very different venues.  For example, in modern (and from what we can learn from ancient texts, also in the ancient world) both religious sites and theme parks produce secondary industries.  We only have to visit Rome or Jerusalem to see hundreds of people selling religious souvenirs.  Just as in the days of the Bible, the lodging industry is impacted by religious tourism and in many places lodging grows around a particular pilgrimage site.  Just as in the world of tourism, religious tourism is aimed at a particular audience, in this case, the believer, whose faith turns what might be for a non-believer the secular into the sacred.

Visiting a religious site is an exercise in emotion rather than cognition.  The site may not be beautiful or grandiose but in the eye of the believer such a site is both spiritual and memorable. Religious or faith-based tourism, however, is not only about pilgrimages. Faith based travel may take place for life cycle events, for missionary work, for reasons of humanitarian interest and/or as part of religious conventions and conclaves.

Religious tourism is big business.  It is estimated that in the US alone some 25% of the traveling public is interested in faith-based tourism. When one adds to this the number of people who travel for faith-based conventions, and faith based activities such as weddings, bar mitzvahs or funerals, the number become extraordinarily large. World Religious Travel is one of the fastest growing segments in travel today. Religious travel is estimated at a value of US$18 billion and 300 million travelers strong.  Religious tourism sites bring in considerable revenue.

To help you deal with this growing travel trend.  Here are some essentials to help the busy travel and tourism professional.

 

  • While a recent study tourism does not have to be built around a pilgrimage site. There is no doubt that it helps to have a major religious center, such as Jerusalem, Mecca, or Rome most locales will never have such holy sites.  Lack of a religious center does not mean however that a location cannot develop faith-based tourism.  Florida has created its own Bible land, and multiple cities around the world have found ways to incorporate religious holidays into their tourism product.

 

  • A locale does not need to have a major religious site to be part of religious tourism. Religious tourism is anything that touches the visitor’s soul.  Take an inventory of your local houses of worship and you may discover that they contain not only great items of beauty but are the holders of personal histories and culture.  In a world where people seek both personal genealogies and an understanding of who they are, both local houses of worship and cemeteries may provide a whole new travel experience, that adds not only to your community’s bottom line but provides in-depth experiences.

 

  • Take care of the physical appearance and condition of your religious sites. Emphasis on maintaining sustained tourism with minimal corrosive impact on old and sacred structures and places of worship is imperative. Religion has an enormous sentimental value. The devotees and tourist having a thirst for holy voyages would certainly love to see their religious destination and places of worship well preserved touching the acceptable standards of cleanliness and existence of infrastructural support.

 

  • Religious travel is often less prone to economic ups and downs in the market place. Religious travelers also tend to panic less during periods of political turbulence.  Because faith-based travelers are committed travelers they tend to save for these religious experiences and travel despite the state of the economy or political challenges.

 

  • Faith travelers tend to have different motives for travel then do travelers for other reasons and tend to fear less. For example, faith-based travelers often travel as part of a religious obligation or to fulfill a spiritual mission.  Because faith base travelers tend to be more steadfast in their desire to fulfill what they see as a commitment they can provide a steady flow of income to a local tourism economy.

 

  • The religious and faith-based market have the advantage of appealing to people from around the world, of all ages and of all nationalities. Tourism and travel professionals should be aware that this market might well double by the year 2020.  To add to this number many faith-based travelers prefer to travel in groups rather than as individuals.

 

  • Be Religiously aware!  This means that tourism professionals should consider everything from the types of food served, types of music played to when local activities take place.  As in other forms of tourism it is essential to know the market. For example, airlines that do not offer vegetarian meals may lose a portion of the faith-based market whose religion has specific food restrictions.

 

  • Connect your local secondary industries with your faith-based tourism.  All too often the spirituality that visitors seek is lost at the level of supporting industries.  During faith based tourism periods it is essential that hotels and restaurants connect with the arts and cultural communities to develop an overall faith based product rather than a mishmash of unrelated offerings.
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As of the writing of this article, Europe continues to have multiple terrorism attacks.  Tourism & More sends its prayers to all those who are victims of terrorism

No matter in what area of tourism you may be, the simple fact is that tourism is a customer-oriented business.  Without customer service, not only your marketing will eventually fail, but also the business’ viability will be in question. Good service is to tourism what oxygen is to the body. It is the lifeblood of how the industry works.Providing good customer service is often a challenge. Tourism, Many of the frontline positions tend to receive only entry-level pay. The hours are long and neither the financial nor social-psychological awards are great.   Often customers take out their frustration on these very people, even when the frontline person can do nothing or has no decision-making authority.  Thus, the people who often have the least amount of authority are often the most abused and at times most frustrated.

One of the results of these problems is that often frontline positions have a high rate of tur  The lack of training then results in poorer customer service that produces a downward spiral.

Often employers present customer service skills as a necessary part of the job or something that employees simply have to do.  Additionally, and all too often, frontline personnel in tourism are not treated as professionals and this lack of professionalism is then reflected in their attitude toward our customers.

The French have a saying: “Tout c’est dans la presentation/everything depends on how you market it”.  That statement also holds true for customer service. If we present the training as merely customer service, that often produces a “so what” attitude.  If, on the other hand, we present the same training as “life skill enhancement” then the value of what we teach goes far beyond that of a frontline tourism professional.

Change for-the-job training to life skills and we may succeed in changing the attitude of some of our more problematic employees.   When we present this training as a professionalization process used to empower our frontline personnel to make decisions that impacts the way a guest is treated, we are on the road not only to better customer service but also to happier employees.  To help you implement these attitudinal changes Tourism Tidbits suggests considering some of the following principles:

 

– Remind our frontline personnel that in life just as in tourism the key to winning over difficult people is to exhibit: Empathy, coupled with patience. Most people in life can accept that things do go wrong, but what they cannot accept is an attitude that states: “I could care less.” Hospitality is based on caring.  Work with your personnel to exhibit a healthy questioning attitude.  When we involve ourselves in the other person’s problems, we turn anger into an experience and we become our customer’s host rather than a mere employee.  Be careful not to confuse empathy with sympathy. Good customer service is always empathetic but never sympathetic.  In a like manner remember that visitors are in a new environment and often feel lost. Patience and the ability to state the same fact two or three times is a life skill that goes a long way toward personal success.

– Teach Crises come about when we have a tourism breakdown and we refuse to adapt to a new situation. Things do happen, planes arrive late, hotel rooms may not be ready, food may be served too cold or too hot.  Learning how to adapt to new situations is essential not only in tourism but also in life.  This need for adaptability means that have to allow our frontline people to make rapid decisions.  Chains of command rarely work in life and almost never in tourism.

– Just as in life remind your front line personnel that every customer is different and almost every situation is unique.  Often in life we become jaded and take the position that we have heard it all before.  In tourism, as is the case in most things in life, people want to be taken seriously, want to be heard and want to believe that their case is being handled in a unique and special format.   That means that we must learn to listen attentively and be sure that the other person understands that we are hearing their issue.  Remember that hearing an issue does not mean agreeing with it, but it does mean that we recognize the emotions of the other person.

– Communicate in a clear and calm manner.  Often problems arise when we do not say what we mean.  Avoid pronouns.  Make sure that you use clear and precise language.  Try to stay on topic and do not allow telephone calls to interfere with your problem solving.  It is essential to remind frontline people that most customers want a problem solved quickly and efficiently. They are not seeking friendships but rather solutions. In today’s world of hypersensitivity use words carefully and a joke can easily be perceived as an insult.

– Be Knowledge. One of the worst things that a frontline employee can do is provide false information.  A good rule of life is if you do not have an answer, do not create an answer just so that you can look smart of efficient.  On the other side of the equation, it is essential for management to provide frontline personnel with as much up-to-date and accurate information as possible.

All of us need to have a thicker skin and remember that a job is only a job.  In tourism as in life all of us will need to confront situations outside of our control (remember with the exception of natural complainers, that our guests are speaking to us because they have had a terrible day). This is where empathy comes into play and we remember that we have the power to turn someone’s awful day into a wonderful day.

 

 

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Photograph by Josh Haner

In the Pearl River Delta, breakneck development is colliding with the effects of climate change.

GUANGZHOU, China — The rains brought torrents, pouring into basements and malls, the water swiftly rising a foot and a half.

The city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center here in the world’s most dynamic industrial region, was hit especially hard by the downpour in May 2014. More than 100 factories and shops were inundated. Water climbed knee-high in 20 minutes, wiping out inventory for dozens of businesses.

Next door in Guangzhou, an ancient, mammoth port city of 13 million, helicopters and a fleet of 80 boats had to be sent to rescue trapped residents. Tens of thousands lost their homes, and 53 square miles of nearby farmland were ruined. The cost of repairs topped $100 million.

Chen Rongbo, who lived in the city, saw the flood coming. He tried to scramble to safety on the second floor of his house, carrying his 6-year-old granddaughter. He slipped. The flood swept both of them away.

Flooding has been a plague for centuries in southern China’s Pearl River Delta. So even the rains that May, the worst in the area in years, soon drifted from the headlines. People complained and made jokes on social media about wading through streets that had become canals and riding on half-submerged buses through lakes that used to be streets. But there was no official hand-wringing about what caused the floods or how climate change might bring more extreme storms and make the problems worse.

Read the full article about the threat of rising waters for Chinese cities here.

By  from The New York Times

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White rhinos graze on a ranch belonging to John Hume, one of the rhino farmers who sued to overturn South Africa’s ban on the domestic sales of rhino horn. PHOTOGRAPH BY WALDO SWIEGERS, BLOOMBERG/GETTY

 

It will soon be legal to buy and sell rhino horn within South Africa. The country’s constitutional court dismissed an application to appeal from the government to keep a ban on the trade in place, the South African government confirms.

This ends a lengthy legal battle that pitted rhino owners, who farm rhinos like livestock and want to be able to sell their reserves of rhino horn once again, against the government’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which placed a moratorium on the trade in 2009 after a jump in poaching. Lower courts have sided with the rhino farmers, but the ban remained in place as the government’s appeal worked through the courts. Knowing that it may lose, the government began preparing for legalization earlier this year by issuing new draft regulations to govern the trade. They say that anyone with a permit will be able to buy and sell rhino horns and that foreigners will be allowed to export a maximum of two horns for “personal purposes.”

Read more on the legislation of rhino horn here.

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Tourism-and-more

 

 

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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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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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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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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