International Trade [Time to Assess Your Security Protocol]

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Celine Murphy, breaks down some of the risks facing global business travellers today in Travel Risk Media’s Annual Travel Risk Report 2019. A free download copy can be obtained here, and we have also outlined the article is below:

What are the current challenges facing organisations when managing global industry events and large groups of travellers? An ever-evolving global security landscape, geopolitical conflict, ‘Duty of Care’ legislation and increasing globalisation are motivating organisations and event planners to re-think their security strategy. Creating and planning a corporate event involves many moving parts and significant logistical coordination, particularly when working across multiple destinations, and within complex environments.

How real are the risks for global business travellers? There are many real risks facing business travellers today. People tend to worry about widely publicised dangers such as terrorism or catastrophic events like tsunami’s and earthquakes which are infrequent and unpredictable. These divert attention from the more prevalent, day-to-day risks that regular travellers face including road traffic accidents, illnesses, cybercrime, infectious diseases and petty crime.

Are companies and business travellers taking these risks seriously? Although we have observed an increase in security awareness across the board, there are still major gaps in corporate, event and traveller security. Businesses often make strategic decision using statistics, data analysis and forecasts yet they will send travellers into high risk situations without a basic intelligence or country report – often with no visibility on the traveller’s whereabouts and with limited monitoring and safety procedures in place. Well paid executives are regularly flown business class, ready to do business when they arrive. Travel departments will book high quality hotels with all amenities available for maximum productivity. However, ground transportation is frequently neglected with senior board members travelling in an unlicensed taxi. Executives are at greatest risk when in transit to and from the office, accommodation or airport. Potential exposure to risks and hazards during business travel include road traffic accidents, vehicle failure and poor route selection through higher risk areas or country-specific threats such as theft, kidnap, car-jacking, armed robbery and assault. Corporates, NGO’s and private clients ARE assuming a more pro-active stance towards traveller safety but many organisations remain complacent. 

When planning International events, what can organisations do to mitigate risk for the business, their delegates and travellers?Gaining an early understanding of travel risk management and security issues is crucial for effective contingency planning, crisis management and risk mitigation. If you do not have an internal security function ensure due diligence and vetting is carried out on your security provider. A good ‘risk management’ company will anticipate threats, assist with crisis management and mitigate risk through pro-active measures to secure your event and safeguard your travellers.

What can be done to safeguard company conferences, meetings, roadshows and AGM’s? A good security provider will ensure all technical security, physical measures, local authorities and relatable resources are coordinated to maximise security efficiencies throughout your event and across all destinations, as outlined below:

ASSESSMENT: Any robust security approach should be intelligence led and include risk analysis and assessment, Intelligence reporting and active monitoring. Security surveys and reconnaissance of all venues, locations and vendors should be carried out in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.

CONSULTATION: All security providers should deliver operational planning, liaising with all third parties and deconflicting with external security teams. Haveyou got evacuation, contingency and communication plans in place? Have you reviewed your crisis management plan against the current climate? Full journey management protocols should be explored to ensure the safety of travelling employees, delegates and guests. You should consider security awareness training for those working within medium to high-risk areas.

SECURITY SUPPORT: There are a variety of security measures which can be tailored to suit your events, travellers and risk profile. Physical security includes executive protection, venue security and canine units. Technical security can be employed using drones, surveillance, cameras and access control measures. Travel risk management entails airport facilitation, local chaperones, vetted secure transportation and ‘meet and greet’ services as well as actively monitoring your travellers. Medical risk management is playing a key part at large scale events and can range from 24-hour access to a telemedicine service and registered Drs to fully equipped mobile clinics onsite.

What is your advice to clients concerned about the future security of business abroad? Our message remains consistent: continue to do business globally. However, with increased globalism, evolving technology and a growing security threat, organisations need to adapt their approach, establish a robust travel risk management plan for your mobile workforce.