The integration of national security with tourism security, crisis communication and travel advisories were some of the key issues discussed at the 1st Meeting of the High Level Task Force on Tourism and Security, organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today in Madrid. The event took place ahead of the 105th UNWTO Executive Council meeting to be held in Madrid, home of the UNWTO Headquarters, on 11 and 12 May.
The Task Force Meeting gathered representatives from UNWTO Member States, UN organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and private sector entities such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) and the Association of British Travel Agencies (ABTA).
“The Task Force was established by the UNWTO Executive Council to help us reinforce our action and cooperation towards safer, more secure and yet more seamless travel,” recalled UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the meeting.
Actions such as joint police work between Spain and source markets for specific events or times of the year, tourism training for security forces in Jamaica, the tourism and security task force in Kenya, and the experience of the tourism police in Thailand were some of the cases shared during the meeting by UNWTO Member States.
Also on the table were issues of public and private sector cooperation in operational crisis management and communications, and the tourism sector addressing possible tightening of security measures.
The work of the Task Force will focus on five key issues: 1) the integration between tourism and security; 2) support to the sector in setting crisis management plans and protocols; 3) travel advisories; 4) safe, secure and seamless travel including visa facilitation; and 5) crisis communications.
These areas will be addressed by specific working groups tasked with developing recommendations and guidelines to be presented at the UNWTO General Assembly.