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London Terror Attack: Let the tourism industry win this time

London Terror Attack: Let the tourism industry win this time

Today another terror attack shocked London, the United Kingdom, and the civilized world. Like most of the attack by terror organizations or fanatic individuals, attacks are done to hurt our industry – the travel and tourism industry. This is a call by this publisher to let the travel and tourism industry walk away as the winner this time.

The victims in the public eye, of course, are innocent bystanders that happened to be somewhere at the wrong time.

However, the real victims of every single attack are ten thousand, hundred thousands if not millions of people who are related directly or indirectly to the largest industry in the world: Travel & Tourism.

These are not only the 100 largest companies represented by WTTC, the World Travel and Tourism Council, these are thousands of medium to small size businesses, family businesses, tour guides, taxi drivers, children whose parents cannot get paid, the list is endless.

What are our government officials, or international organizations doing in response to a terror attack? They condemn. They condemn publicy, they tweet, they issue statements. Heads of state, ministers of tourism,  get on TV. The publicity is targeted to condemn those that hurt an unlucky handful of people.

In reality, the condemnation equals to multiply the success of an attack. It’s like throwing a nuclear bomb after the attacker to get millions scared to travel.

Next governments issue travel advisories or even worse travel warnings. They stop airlines to fly to destinations that rely on the tourism Dollar.  Who are the victims in those travel advisories? Definitely not the terrorist. Victims are again the people that rely on the travel and tourism industry for their livelihood.

London with millions and millions of visitors can sustain some bad publicity. Most governments won’t issue serious warnings against a country like the U.K. anyway.

Other destinations like Tunisia, Kenya, Thailand, Egypt, have a very different problem.
Their weak infrastructure, low salaries and lack of resources are the most vulnerable tourist destinations. It’s human nature to bully and hurt the most vulnerable, it’s easy and doesn’t take much.

One billion people and more are going on international trips every year. A fraction of a fraction of a percentage would be in the same city at the same time a terror attack happens. Another fraction of a percentage would be directly involved and a low percentage from those would actually become a victim. Flying on today’s most safest airliners is far more dangerous compared to the likelihood to be involved in a terror attack.

Instead of condemning this attack and give those that did a great job hurting 40 people but causing harm to hundreds of thousands of people in our industry today, may I ask to condemn those that issue senseless travel warnings telling their citizens to be on the watch out for something undetermined?

The former Minister of Tourism for the Seychelles Alain St. Ange who is now running a tourism consulting company Saint Ange Consultancy. Mr. St.Ange was always very outspoken and issued this press release in response to yesterday’s London attack.

“On June 3 London suffered from the cowardly acts of terrorism. The World of Tourism from the four corners of the globe stands with London today to say that we strongly condemn this latest attack perpetrated in the heart of London.

The world was still getting to terms with the recent Manchester attack, and as the great British People were getting to terms with that incident another blow strikes to disrupt lives in Great Britain. As far away as the Seychelles, sitting right in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but still part of the World of Tourism I say heartfelt condolences and sincere sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of Great Britain.

A call I made for the recent UNWTO elections for the post of Secretary General was for Ministers of Tourism and also those for Internal Affairs to sit with the Press Fraternity alongside the tourism industry’s public and private sector, the UNWTO and WTTC, to analyze such threats as what happened in London last night. It is very clear that this is a matter for the international community to rally together because innocent lives are being lost and economies threatened because some seem to enjoy such acts of destruction. Today I again call for the Community of Nations to meet and to get the press on board. Great Britain cannot do this alone, and as we see the number of Cities of the World affected at one point in time by such carnage get longer, we need to join forces and search for solutions.”

ICTP Chairman Juergen Steinmetz, who is also the publisher of this publication eTurboNews echoes Mr. St. Anges call to work with media stakeholders, but would urge to discuss a different approach to not just condemn and not just offering “any assistance’. He urged leaders to come up with a workable solution that doesn’t further the activities of those wanting to cause damage to our industry.

As Alain St. Ange often said his country is a friend of all and enemies of none could be a great start. ICTP and eTN are ready to join such a discussion. The International Coalition of Tourism Partners was established in 2011 with Alain St. Ange, Prof. Geoffrey Lipman, Feisol Hashim and Juergen T Steinmetz with the assistance of Louis D’Amore, Founder of the International Institute for Tourism at the IIPT conference in Lusaka, Zambia.