Opinião do Especialista

Tourism Faces Terrorism (Peter Tarlow)

Publicado por Peter Tarlow


Terrorism Attacks on the Russian Airliner and Paris and What They Will Mean to You!

This month has not been easy for specialists in tourism security.  We first witnessed the terrorist bombing of the Russian aircraft causing not only death and destruction to innocent civilians but also a major blow to Egypt’s tourism industry.  Friday afternoon, Texas time, the first reports of November 13th terrible attacks in Paris began to come through the newswires.

It is still too early to provide a full security picture of the events. The French police are correctly holding back information and being during their investigation not to provide the “enemy” with needed details.   Although these attacks may not have been a direct assault against the tourism industry, we do know that the venues attacked all were places of public gatherings and formed the backbone of tourism.  As such, it is essential that everyone in tourism be well aware of the consequences of these attacks and learn from them.  It is not possible to determine at this moment (November 14) if these attacks have now run their course or if other attacks will follow in the days ahead.

In reading this article please note that it does not attempt to ascertain the causes or responsibility for these attacks but rather examines only the consequences of these attacks on the tourism industry as a whole and presents ideas for tourism’s continued viability in an age of terrorism.

The Russian airline attack and the Paris attacks will force the travel industry to deal with a major travel paradigm shift.  France closed its borders and the idea of an open Europe may now be coming to an end. This shift in travelers’ mindsets that occurred after September 11, 2001 may soon return and the western nations which for the last 7 years have viewed terrorism as a criminal act  rather than as an act of war.  National leaders may now have to reassess their Modus Vivendi.   The Paris terrorist attacks, and the possibility of new attacks, have given the travel and tourism a new major wake-up call and will force the industry once again to place tourism security at the top of its priority list.

Unfortunately, many in the travel and tourism industry had hoped that in the years since September 11, 2001 tourism security could once again be placed on the back burner.  Put in its simplest of terms; travelers will once again demand good tourism security and not only at airports, but at public venues, restaurants, hotels and stadiums.  In the old travel industry paradigm, security was in too many locations the industry’s step child or “dark secrete.”  Industry leaders rarely spoke about threats to tourists in public fearing that such openness would scare away visitors.  The common belief has been that security was a “necessary evil” that one had to have, but that security added nothing to the business’ bottom line.  For this reason, tourism and travel security were rarely publicized, never mentioned in marketing campaigns, under-funded, and its practitioners were often under-paid.  The old paradigm led to poor security at airports, hotels, restaurants and attractions.  Security professionals who spoke of acts of terrorism, bio-chemical attacks, and crime were seen as alarmist and tourism marketers often asked security professionals to rephrase their warnings in ways that would be acceptable for public consumption.

If the public perception changed after September 11, the attacks against the Russian airliner and the city of Paris will mean that tourism officials who ignore security are placing their entire industry in peril. The bottom line will be simply where there is no security tourism will perish, but in those locales where tourism security is professionalized and well thought through, the tourism industry will continue to flourish.

The Post Paris paradigm for the travel and tourism industry is based on the fact that tourism security is now a major part of a location’s marketing strategy.

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 investigated? Who has access to a guest’s room?  Who is working behind the scenes at airports? Are these people vetted (have their personal backgrounds checked)?
  • 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.

Due to the shortness of time, this article is being published only in English. We offer apologies to our Spanish and Portuguese readers.

Debido a la necesidad de publicar este artículo inmediatamente, lo hemos escrito solamente en inglés. Mil disculpas a nuestros lectores en español y en portugués.

Por causa do tempo mínimo dado para escrever este artigo, esse artigo será publicada somente em Inglês, pedimos desculpas aos nossos leitores dos exemplares escritos em Espanhol e em Português.

Sobre o autor

Peter Tarlow

Dr. Peter Tarlow, PH.D, Founder and President of Tourism & More
Dr. Peter E. Tarlow is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and economic development. Since 1990, Tarlow has been teaching courses on tourism, crime & terrorism to police forces and security and tourism professionals throughout the world.
Tarlow earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Texas A&M University. He also holds degrees in history, in Spanish and Hebrew literatures, and in psychotherapy. In 1996, Tarlow became Hoover Dam's consultant for tourism development and security. In 1998, Tarlow's role at the Bureau of Reclamation expanded. He was asked to develop a tourism security program for all Bureau of Reclamation properties and visitor centers. Tarlow continued his involvement with the Bureau of Reclamation until December of 2012. In 1999, the US Customs service asked Tarlow to work with its agents in the area of customer service, cultural awareness, and custom's impact on the tourism and visitor industry.
In 2000, due to interagency cooperation on the part of the Bureau of Reclamation, Tarlow helped to prepare security and FBI agents for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He also lectured for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Tarlow is currently working with police departments of the state of Rio de Janeiro for the 2014 World Cup Games and 2016 Olympic games.
In 2003, US National Park Service asked Tarlow to take on special assignments dealing with iconic security for its multiple tourism sites. Within the US government Tarlow has lectured for the Department of the Interior, for the Department of Justice (Bureau of Prisons and Office of US Attorneys-General), the Department of Homeland Security and the American Bar Association’s Latin America Office. Tarlow has worked with other US and international government agencies such as the US Park Service at the Statue of Liberty, The Smithsonian's Institution's Office of Protection Services, Philadelphia's Independence Hall and Liberty Bell and New York's Empire State Building. He has also worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the United Nation's WTO (World Tourism Organization), the Center for Disease Control (Atlanta, Triangle Series), the Panama Canal Authority. He has taught members of national police forces such as the members of the US Supreme Court police, and the Smithsonian Museum’s police. He has also worked with numerous police forces throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America.
In 2013 Tarlow was named the Special Envoy for the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. At almost the same time the US State Department asked him to lecture around the world on issues of tourism security and safety. In 2013, Tarlow began working with the Dominican Republic’s national tourism police, then called POLITUR, and as of 2014 called CESTUR.
Since 1992, Tarlow has been the chief organizer of multiple tourism conferences around the world, including the International Tourism Safety Conference in Las Vegas. Since 2006 he has also been part of the organizational teams for the Biannual Aruba Tourism Conference and has helped organize conferences in St. Kitts, Charleston (South Carolina), Bogota, Colombia, Panama City, and Curaçao. In starting in 2013, Tarlow became a co-organizer of the first and second Mediterranean Tourism Conference held in Croatia.
Tarlow's fluency in many languages enables him to speak throughout the world (United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Africa, and the Eastern Pacific, and Asia). Tarlow lectures on a wide range of current and future trends in the tourism industry, rural tourism economic development, the gaming industry, issues of crime and terrorism, the role of police departments in urban economic development, and international trade.
Tarlow has done extensive research on the relationship between tourism, crime, and terrorism. He also works with police forces to understand their constituents and provide the best customer service possible. Tarlow publishes extensively in these areas and writes numerous professional reports for US governmental agencies and for businesses throughout the world. He also functions as an expert witness in courts throughout the United States on matters concerning tourism security and safety, and issues of risk management.
Tarlow’s research ranges from the impact of school calendars on the tourism industries to tourism ecology and business. These research interests allow Tarlow to work with communities throughout the United States. He is teaches how communities can use their tourism as an economic development tool during difficult economic times, and at the same time improve their local residents’ quality of life.
Tarlow speaks throughout North and Latin America, the Middle East and Europe, and Asia. Some of the topics about which he speaks are: the sociology of terrorism, its impact on tourism security and risk management, the US government's role in post terrorism recovery, and how communities and businesses must face a major paradigm shift in the way they do business. Tarlow trains numerous police departments throughout the world in TOPPS (Tourism Oriented Policing and Protection Services) and offers certification in this area. Tarlow provides keynote speeches around the world on topics as diverse as dealing with economies in crisis to how beautification can become a major tool for economic recovery.
Tarlow is a well-known author in the field of tourism security. He is a contributing author to multiple books on tourism security, and has published numerous academic and applied research articles regarding issues of security including articles published in The Futurist, the Journal of Travel Research and Security Management. In 1999 Tarlow co-edited "War, Terrorism, and Tourism." a special edition of the Journal of Travel Research. In 2002 Tarlow published Event Risk Management and Safety (John Wiley & Sons). Tarlow also writes and speaks for major organizations such as the Organization of US State Dams, and The International Association of Event Managers. In 2011, Tarlow published: Twenty Years of Tourism Tidbits: The Book. The Spanish language addition is to be released in 2012. He has recently published a book on Cruise Safety (written in Portuguese) entitled Abordagem Multdisciplinar dos Cruzeiros Turísticos. In June of 2014, Elsevier published Tarlow’s newest book: Tourism Security: Strategies for Effective Managing Travel Risk and Safety. He is currently writing a new book on tourism sports security (to be published in late 2016) and a series of articles on the same topic for the American Society of Industrial Security.
Tarlow’s wide range of professional and scholarly articles includes articles on subjects such as: "dark tourism", theories of terrorism, and economic development through tourism. Tarlow also writes and publishes the popular on-line tourism newsletter Tourism Tidbits read by thousands of tourism and travel professionals around the world in its English, Spanish, and Portuguese language editions. Tarlow has been a regular contributor to the joint electronic tourism newsletter, ETRA, published jointly by Texas A&M University and the Canadian Tourism Commission. His articles often appear in a wide range of both trade and academic publications including Brilliant Results and Destination World.
Tarlow lectures at major universities around the world. Tarlow is a member of the Distance Learning Faculty of "The George Washington University" in Washington, DC. He is also an adjunct faculty member of Colorado State University and the Justice Institute of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) and a member of the graduate faculty of Guelph University in Ontario, Canada. Tarlow is an honorary professor at the Universidad de Especialidades Turisticas (Quito, Ecuador), of the Universidad de la Policía Federal (Buenos Aires, Argentina), la Universidad de Huánuco, Peru, and on the EDIT faculty at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, (O'ahu). At numerous other universities around the world Tarlow lectures on security issues, life safety issues, and event risk management. These universities include institutions in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. In 2015 the Faculty of Medicine of Texas A&M University asked Tarlow to “translate” his tourism skills into practical courses for new physicians. As such he teaches courses in customer service, creative thinking and medical ethics at the Texas A&M medical school
Tarlow has appeared on national televised programs such as Dateline: NBC and on CNBC and is a regular guest on radio stations around the US. Tarlow organizes conferences around the world dealing with visitor safety and security issues and with the economic importance of tourism and tourism marketing. He also works with numerous cities, states, and foreign governments to improve their tourism products and to train their tourism security professionals.
Tarlow is a founder and president of Tourism & More Inc. (T&M). He is a past president of the Texas Chapter of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA). Tarlow is a member of the International Editorial Boards of "Turizam" published in Zagreb, Croatia, "Anatolia: International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research," published in Turkey, and "Estudios y Perspectivas en Turismo," published in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and American Journal of Tourism Research.