Amigoe: First Caribbean Tourist Safety conference: ‘Make the police part of the tourist product sales’
It seems that the “First Caribbean Tourist Safety Conference” still does not understand the impact of Natalee Holloway in the United States. The safety issue comes into play; however, Americans are upset and not going to Aruba more for the way that the investigation was handled and how the government, ALE and prosecutors office has treated the family of a missing person. Its more than just a safety issue. Its a matter of why would a tourist have any piece of mind if something happened to them that they would have any confidence that the island police would do the right thing. They have witnessed a botch investigation, intentional or through incompetence, and realize it could have been them. Many have suspected that favoritism ruled the day in the Natalee Holloway investigation and there was a strategic cover up from the beginning.
“Aruba should invest a lot of money in the promotion of the safety on the island. Aruba had done nothing to brush up her image after the Holloway-affair. At least, I haven’t seen that.
The competition is not only determined by the travel distance, but especially by the safety image of the vacation destination. Tourists go to destinations that have a good reputation, where it is safe.
No, tourist will now go where they believe they will not have to deal with corruption or be insulated and treated like a criminal when someone in their family has a crime committed against them. Why would anyone pay money to be treated like this? To get no answers, have no real competent investigation and be blamed for the investigations failures. In a tourism industry where the “customer is always right”, Aruba seemed to have another agenda.
Safety is one issue. However, doing a proper investigation, making arrests and searching people’s homes no matter who they are or what political connections they may have makes a difference. No one thinks anyplace is 100% safe; however, they do expect a crime to be properly investigated without corruption. How exactly does the “First Caribbean Tourist Safety Conference” expect to change that perception.
Its not the walk on the beech that many worry about, its the fact that the police will cover up any reported crime, never adequately investigate or just hope that the victim leaves an island never to return. That’s the issue. How many crimes, assaults, etc have been reported in Aruba and have never been investigated? They wait for the victim to leave the island and the reported incident becomes out of sight, out of mind.
Amigoe; June 13, 2006: First Caribbean Tourist Safety conference: ‘Make the police part of the tourist product sales’
ARUBA – “Aruba should invest a lot of money in the promotion of the safety on the island. Aruba had done nothing to brush up her image after the Holloway-affair. At least, I haven’t seen that. I have only heard the negative aspect of it. Do not hide the affair, but show actively how safe it can be for a tourist to walk on the beach here for example”, said Peter Tarlow, expert in the field of the consequences of crime and terrorism for the tourism, at the opening of the first Caribbean Tourist Safety conference that took place in the Aruba Resort from June 7th till June 10th.
It takes only one incident to damage the image of a safe island for a long time and that’s what the disappearance of the American teenager did to Aruba. But according to Tarlow, the entire Caribbean region realizes that they have a big problem. There are many places where services and safety have shortcomings. The competition is not only determined by the travel distance, but especially by the safety image of the vacation destination. Tourists go to destinations that have a good reputation, where it is safe. Tourism is the most important industry in the world, but it gets the least attention.
Tarlow says that more attention is being paid to the protection of airplanes than the safety of the passengers. In connection with that, it is remarkable that the Israeli airline company El Al scores very high with travelers when it comes to safety. This company hardly advertises, but is profitable for years due to its image.
At his or her vacation destination, a tourist should feel safe and at home. Inquiries proved that what contributes to a safety feeling is the visible presence of police and security personnel in uniforms and friendliness. Tarlow asked his international audience if the authorities have welcomed them with a smile when they arrived at the airport. “The system will also fail when nobody asks you upon departure whether you had a good time.”
Crisis management fails when risk management is lacking. According to Tarlow, the authorities and managers in the tourism should occupy themselves with the question ‘where are the biggest risks’. You should not only be aware of that, but also tell others what you learned in practice. One thing is very important: “Live up to your words! Don’t say that your destination is safe, while that’s not the case. “One-hundred percent safety does not exist.
Ann Gallaugher, vice president of the Tourism Development for the Anaheim and Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau in South California, said that since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, her organization is working very close with the authorities and it pays off. ‘The fact that police and security services scare off people is no longer the case. The sales departments in the tourist sector should therefore include these people in their teams.”
According to statistics, Anaheim with amongst others Disneyland as a huge tourist attraction is the safest place in the group of cities with 250.000 and 500.000 inhabitants in the United States.
September 11th had big influence on the tourism, but so did hurricanes, tsunamis and political unrest. The break out of the infectious disease sars in Toronto, the hurricanes in New Orleans, and the murder of German tourists in Miami; all of these were well expatiated on CNN. The media in the United States love sensation and in Aruba the people now realizes what the disappearance of Natalee Holloway had produced.
The safety feeling is to a great extent subjective. You can achieve this feeling by approaching visitors friendly and make eye contact with them. Aruba has the advantage that many visitors can be addressed in their own language.
Gallaugher mentioned that there is a special aid- and relief program for tourists that during their visit to Anaheim were victimized and it is very successful. Also that works as marketing instrument. Gallaugher hopes that the next conference will attract more participants of the sales departments.