The recent atrocities in Tunisia and Thailand serve to make the point the the world has become regionally complex and offers a risk to many ordinary people, unaware of their potential exposure to that risk.
Many of you following me will know that my view is quite clear; because of the complexity and risk that exists in the world, you can no longer sell holidays via a one-stop universal model.
You have to recognise that those who offer the mantra that 'terror exists everywhere', as justification for their continued one-size-fits-all economic activity, do not appear to understand the regional differences as to the scale of risk in a particular destination.
I therefore say, at the point of sale, and quite separately, through a government's travel advisories, you now have to be specific as to risks within a given destination, so that the Consumer can ultimately make their own informed choice when making travel plans.
That is the rationale and logical methodology that should now be applied into the sale of all holidays today.
But on the subject of risk and the suggestion that 'we are all in it together', no matter where we live, it is perhaps appropriate to reveal data from the global survey on risk and how that applies to countries around the world.
In order to establish scores within the Index, a number of factors are taken into account, such as terrorism, violence, crime, political stability, respect for law, human rights, economic stability & activity, good relations with neighbouring countries, corruption and a good functioning government.
From those factors a country is then ranked according to the scores achieved, out of 162 countries.
In their report they find that Europe (Page 10) was experiencing a 'high' to 'very high' score on their GPI or Global Peace Index, with the conclusion that:
"Europe remained the most peaceful geographical region in the world".
With regards to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)(Page 6), they concluded:
"The most substantial change in the Index was recorded for [MENA] where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, as well as a rise in actions by Islamist extremist groups".
This earlier BBC news report maps out the consequences of turmoil in the region through migration and Amnesty International's own press release ably sets out the consequences of politcal failure in the region!
The report notes that in 2013 82% of deaths from terrorism took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria & Syria and acknowledged that some 'peaceful' countries, such as France, Denmark and Australia suffered with terror attacks.
Considering the 'global peace rankings', as a good indicator of stability and regional differences, it is perhaps worthy to note that the UK is ranked 39th in the world, with the vast majority of countries above its ranking consisting of European Countries; there are several slightly below the UK including France.
Now we should consider where some of the more popular holiday destinations rest within the 162 Global Rankings:
- Portugal 11th;
- Spain 21st;
- Mauritius 25th;
- Italy 36th;
- France 45th;
- UAE 49th;
- Greece 61st;
- Cyprus 68th;
- Oman 74th;
- Tunisia 76th (Pre-Tunisia attack);
- Cuba 82nd;
- Morocco 86th;
- USA 94th;
- The Gambia 99th;
- Dominican Republic 100th;
- Bahrain 107th;
- Jamaica 109th;
- Sri Lanka 114th;
- China 124th;
- Thailand 126th;
- Kenya 133rd;
- Turkey 135th;
- Egypt 137th;
- Philippines 141st;
- India 143rd;
- Mexico 144th;
- Israel 148th.
Syria rests at position 162!
The figures speak for themselves and they clearly demonstrate our principal point, that regional differences are important and that a on-size-fits-all holiday sale or travel advisory simply cannot continue.
I hope that this short survey is helpful to holidaymakers when making choices about their holidays, but with regards to the Travel Industry & Government, you simply have to recognise the value of this information and adapt accordingly; it is time that you demonstrated your skill in guiding holidaymakers!