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22-07-2018 \\ Travel Security \\ Ronny Sæther
– BY RONNY SÆTHER
In earlier articles I have described how to mitigate risks to ensure safety for employees travelling abroad for business. In this new series of articles I will have a deeper look into different issues concerning travel risk management that apply to both business and leisure travels – with emphasis on the traveller.
"By following the easy-to-do steps mentioned in this article,
we will all be better prepared to cope with different kinds of unwanted incidents"
In this specific article I will highlight the importance of being prepared ahead of embarking on adventures abroad. Basically, everything starts with the planning. The key is to plan in advance – in other words to be proactive. That means, plan in advance so you will know what to do if something happens when travelling. What if I fall sick during my travel? What if the destination is struck by an earthquake during my visit? What if I lose my wallet or passport? These are all examples of unwanted incidents that could occur and therefore should be addressed during the planning phase prior to travelling.
Where am I going?
As aforementioned, there are always inherent threats and resulting risks linked to the places we are travelling to. For that reason it is important to identify the threats and hazards that apply to the specific destination. Those threats or hazards should be evaluated in relation to your own or your group’s travel profile and risk perception.
The notion “one size fits all” does not exist in the field of risk mitigation, because it all depends on individual perceptions of risk. Everyone has a unique background, which affects each individual’s decision-making process. For example, an academic is likely to cope differently with emergencies than a person with a military background.
Therefore, it is important to set an acceptable level of risk based on the aforementioned. However, it is essential to have an understanding of some types of threats and dangers we cannot control.
When the acceptable level of risk is defined, mitigating measures that ensure the threats are reduced accordingly must be implemented. Facing risks, travellers have 5 options: (i) Ignoring the risks and hoping that nothing happens; (ii) reducing the risks to an acceptable level; (iii) avoiding the risks by changing the itinerary; (iv) eliminating the risks by cancelling the travel; (v) carrying out the travel despite the risks being above the acceptable level.
In many ways common sense and situational awareness are the keys to avoiding unwanted incidents. This, together with the aforementioned issue of risk perception, hence plays a crucial role in decision-making. The more formal name of this process is risk analysis.
Risk analysis is part of a comprehensive risk assessment process. It is necessary to ensure that measures to mitigate the probability of an unwanted incident to occur, as well as measures to mitigate the consequences if something unwanted already has occurred, are implemented.
Therefore, it is crucial to conduct risk analysis ahead of all travels. A proper risk analysis will ensure awareness around different types of risks. At the end of the day, it is not possible to prepare for or avoid risks that you do not understand. Finally, it is important to see the identified risks in conjuction with the pre-defined plans I mentioned in the beginning of the article.
To help travellers prepare and plan the safety of their next trip and stay updated on unwanted incidents during their travels, there are several websites that may be helpful. Such open source resources may be of vital help in the pre-phase of travelling, but also during the travel.
In this regard, I want to mention my own site Globalsecurityrisks.com | Reisesikkerhet.no which is a non-profit initiative focusing on providing travel advice and travel awareness bulletins from reliable open sources. Its purpose is to warn travellers and companies with an international workforce about travel security risks on a global level.
By following the easy-to-do steps mentioned in this article, we will all be better prepared to cope with different kinds of unwanted incidents.