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Speechless? UNWTO, WTTC, PATA, ETOA on current threats to world tourism

Speechless? UNWTO, WTTC, PATA, ETOA on current threats to world tourism
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It’s surprising the worlds largest tourism organizations and leaders in world tourism, UNWTO and WTTC, ETOA, PATA and others did not much react yet to one of the toughest two weeks of travel and tourism for a long time. Of course, diplomacy and maneuvering may be very active behind the scene, but the world needs to hear from our tourism leaders. The Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Jamaica Minister of Tourism Hon. Ed Bartlett are some positive examples on how outreach can help. It’s definetly helping UNWTO to  put the Jamaica minister in a position to bridge and take a more major role in the Caribbean disaster.

The world needs to hear more than this statement WTTC issued on their website:

WTTC statement:

“The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is deeply shocked and saddened by the shooting in Las Vegas earlier today. Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “I send my heartfelt condolences to all the friends and families of the victims and those hurt in this callous attack in Las Vegas. We stand strong and united with the people of Las Vegas as they go through these difficult times. On behalf of the Travel & Tourism sector we offer our full support to the city, one of the United States’ most thriving tourist destinations as WTTC experienced during our Global Summit in 2011, as it will come to terms with the aftermath of this attack.”

Many issues:

There is a lot going on. USA, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Guam, South Korea, Catalonia and now Los Vegas – tourism is under global attack. Challenging times are emerging after the first Caribbean Crisis committee met at the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China last month.

Global coordinated approach to involve tourism leaders missing?

Maybe it’s time for a global tourism crisis committee to be formed to address such problems and coordinate with UNWTO, WTTC, ETOA, PATA, ICTP, IIPT and the many other important organizations.

No travel warnings issued – a new trendsetter:
Not one country issued a travel warning for the United States. It can only be hoped this is a new trendsetter and the United States also will refrain from issuing travel warnings at future terror incidents in Europe or other regions. Travel warnings won’t resolve the issue, and they would make it worse. The world should push the US for gun control. This is a problem getting completely out of hand. What could be the logical reason for the 2nd Amendment in the year 2017?

Many organizations did have something to say, including the International Nightlife Association, said they strongly condemn the shooting occurred near the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada (U.S.A.). At the same time, we express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims in this tragic moment as they seek to recover from this deeply disturbing tragedy. For this reason, the International Nightlife Association will lead a moment of silence at the International Nightlife Congress to be held next week in Ibiza (Spain) in order to honor its victims and as a signal of protest as the nightlife image has been unfairly and cowardly targeted once again with innocent people involved.

Once more, after the attacks in Bataclan in Paris, Club Pulse in Orlando and Club Reina in Istanbul the nightlife sector has been hit once again with a cowardly act of violence involving firearms. We stand here in moral indignation and are, at the same time, filled with a huge sense of powerlessness since at least 50 innocent people have been killed and at least 400 others seriously injured while enjoying nightlife, generating a false sensation that nightlife is unsafe when it is not, as the tragic events have been due to an unavoidable cowardly attack.

At the same time we feel great indignation as events like these seriously damage the image and the prestige of the territory where they happen, which is unfair but a constant reality. Las Vegas, where we celebrate our international congress alternatively every two years, is precisely one of the safest and most precious places for nightlife entertainment in the world.

Surprise?

It appears the global tourism industry what hit by surprise in a very short period having to be confronted with Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and numerous terror attacks.

US tourism security expert Dr. Peter Tarlow’s article published here yesterday is worth considering:

His conclusion for Las Vegas
“In order to ease public concerns, some immediate steps should be considered. These are not long-term solutions but act as immediate solutions.  Among these are:

  • High coordination between law enforcement and hotel security personnel. For example, Las Vegas’ police department (Metro) has extremely close relations with its hotel industry and those relations helped to save many lives. Its officers should be commended for their bravery and the outstanding job which they performed.
  • Upgrading the security industry. Security can no longer be seen as merely a great deal of muscle. Security personnel must be trained in a number of psychological and sociological analytics. This means increased budgets, increased attendance at security conferences such as the annual Las Vegas international Safety and Security Conference (to be held in April of 2018), and increase updating of the security issues on both the macro and the micro level.  In today’s world, a criminal or a terrorist can easily slip across borders or travel across oceans.
  • Baggage inspection. It may be impossible to inspect every bag, and even hotels can inspect every bag, there is nothing from preventing a guest to bring in a weapon at a later time or simply under his or her clothing.  However, there is much that can be done by using high levels of creativity.  For example, it may be necessary to use trained dogs and obtain other technical devices that “smell trouble”.  The tourism industry should be working with entrepreneurs to create new less invasive methods that permit privacy but at the same time detect threats and potential problems.
  • Training hotel staffs to be the front line of security. This training may include everything from questioning why a “do not disturb “ sign is on a room door for more than a few hours to notifying security if some seems or smells amiss. Frontline personnel are the eyes and ears of a tourism entity such as a hotel.
  • The tourism and the security industry must be careful not to become overly reactive to the “last” event.  What occurred in Las Vegas is now history.  It is essential to help the victims rebuild their lives to the best extent possible. Tourism officials, none the less, need to prepare for future events and think through how the tourism industry will face future challenges not yet considered.  It would do everyone in tourism to consider how an act of terrorism or a criminal act may impact all sectors of a local industry. The bottom line is that what occurred in Las Vegas can occur in almost any city or resort around the world.  All of us must be careful not to politicize a tragedy but learn from it and then seek to understand future problems and find ways to mitigate these risks with diligence and clarity of thought and purpose.

In most cases, architects designed hotels in the western nations during periods of less violence.  Many of these hotels are quite beautiful but also difficult to protect.  For example, hotels with rooms overlooking ground floor atriums are challenges for security personnel.  In a like manner, reception or check-in areas were designed not with security in mind but for customer satisfaction and ease of meetings. The same is true of both valet and self-parking areas.  The heightened need for greater security means that many hotels, and other tourism installations such as stadiums, will need to be retrofitted. Remodeling these structures is both a difficult and expensive process and may take some time to accomplish

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