Este mes no ha sido fácil para los especialistas en seguridad turística. En primer lugar, hemos sido testigos del atentado terrorista del avión Ruso que causó la muerte de más de 200 personas inocentes y que ha sido un duro golpe para la actividad turística en Egipto. El viernes por la tarde, hora de Texas, los primeros informes del terrible atentado terrorista en Paris el 13 de noviembre.
Todavía no podemos asegurar una seguridad total en relación al evento terrorista en Paris. Es esencial que los especialistas en turismo estén bien consientes de las consecuencias de estos ataques terroristas y aprender de este asunto. No podemos determinar en este momento (Noviembre 14) si estos ataques van a continuar en los días que siguen.
Al leer este artículo note que es necesario examinar las consecuencias de estos ataques que perjudican la seguridad turística.
Veremos algunas sugerencias e ideas que pueden ayudar para prepararse en este mundo inseguro.
Below are some suggestions and ideas to help you prepare for this new and dangerous world.
· Get over denial, it can happen in your community. Recognize that no part of the world today 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. It can! Furthermore, as the media often 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.
· Recognize that there is a fundamental political shift in the world. Old assumptions will no longer hold. The tourism industry will need to recognize that the Islamic State and other terrorist groups are at war with it. From a business perspective t old assumptions about the world 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.
· Develop coordinated efforts between security professionals and tourism professionals. Tourism professionals need to see security professionals and tourism police as allies. That means that tourism professionals must work to insure well-trained TOPPs (Tourism Oriented Policing and Protection units) officers. These TOPPs units should exist in any city that has a major tourism industry or sports stadium.
· Develop a tourism task force. People who should be on this task force are local officials, tourism officials, and transportation officials. The key to this task force is the quality of your facilitator.
· Do not create a false sense of security. Gas masks will do nothing in case of a biological or chemical attack, while sealed rooms may be very useful. Much of what done at airports is a form “Security Theater” that, as seen in the recent downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, does not address real problems. Do not panic people, but deal with safety and security issues in the most professional manner possible. People begin to panic not when you take precautions in a professional manner, but when you fair to take precautions.
· Invite specialists to help train not only security personnel but also tourism officials. All too often tourism officials do not attend security training and merely leave security issues in the hands of unpaid and underfunded security specialists. People lecturing must be both specialists in security and in travel and tourism. Remember terrorism against tourism is not a passing emergency, but now a permanent way of life with an ‘state” (The Islamic State) seeking to undermine the totality of tourism. Travel and tourism industry professionals who are in denial and refuse to accept this new political reality are risking their business’ health are making a costly error.
· Develop security coalitions with all components of your community. Make sure that your police department is trained and understand tourism, make sure that you hotel and attraction workers know how to handle a security emergency. This is also a time for regionalization. For example, if your state tourism conference has never had an expert speak on tourism security, ask why not? Both rural and urban areas should be thinking about the security of their guests.
· Know what is unsafe in your community and work with local governments to improve these security concerns. How safe is your local airport? Are cab drivers’ backgrounds
· Send representatives to tourism security conferences. The oldest and most famous one is held each year in Las Vegas. Every major CVB should have a representative at a tourism security conference along with at least one member of its law enforcement agency. This year’s conference is from April 10-13 and information can be obtained at www.touristsafety.org
· Make sure that all police personnel and security personnel are aware of how important tourism security is to their community’s reputation and economic health. 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 world of terrorism against tourism any lack of either safety or security may result in the destruction of a tourism industry.
· Remember that the best crisis management is good risk management! It is a lot cheaper to stop an attack then it is to recover from an attack. In both the case of the Russian airliner and the Paris attacks, it appears that tourism officials were taken by surprise. The cost of these surprise attacks cannot only be measured in economic costs but also in the cost of lives destroyed, and reputations ruined. The tourism industry’s number one priority must be to do everything possible and to work with security agencies so as to assure the safety and security of its guests but also to insure the viability of the tourism industry.