Following the recent terrorist outrages to what extent are we at risk travelling overseas?

24 January 2017

The security issues faced by global event companies have never been as serious or complex. Global jihad appears to be able to attack public spaces, hotels, airports and planes with impunity and whilst the statistical risk to any individual may be little changed, event companies, especially those with international interests, have a clear responsibility to staff and key stakeholders to assess and mitigate the threat this poses. With regard to venues at risk a very clear pattern of terrorist targets emerges as follows:

  • Places visited by foreigners (British nationals and British interests in particular)
  • Airport check in areas
  • Railway stations and trains
  • Open air markets and shopping malls
  • Hotels
  • Beach resorts
  • Bars, nightclubs and restaurants
  • Places of Christian worship

Exhibition, convention and conference centres and other such venues do not themselves feature though this cannot be ruled out. This may be because all of the above can be targeted and attacked without having to buy a ticket or pass through any kind of controlled entrance (except perhaps for some hotels and shopping malls).   To some extent therefore, the risk can be greatly reduced by simple avoidance and restricting movement to these places for business or leisure.; Risks of passing through airports are probably no greater than any other public place but can be mitigated, for example, by booking in on line and travelling with hand luggage only to reduce the time spent in the public areas before passing through security.  Corporately companies need to think more holistically about all of the travel arrangements including the selection of approved airlines and hotels. Staff need to be briefed on the threat and personal avoidance measures as well as the 'Stay Safe' attack drills promoted by the UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office.

In collaboration with the International SOS Foundation, IOSH has published a new guide, Managing the safety, health and security of mobile workers. It covers a wide range of personal health, safety and security issues when travelling, can be downloaded from the IOSH website and is reviewed separately for the events sector on this micro site.