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Security for International Business Travellers

The effects of globalisation have produced an enormous rise in the numbers of international business travellers, a trend that is only likely to increase, with the World Travel and Tourism Councils latest Economic Impact report for 2013 predicting an annual increase of over 3%. As the global economy begins to struggle free from the effects of the great economic slowdown this forecast increase may even be shown to be on the conservative side. International business trips are carried out by a cross-section of business people, from those individual traders and contractors simply representing themselves, through to representatives of huge multinational corporations. Many travellers will have taken the trouble to investigate aspects such as the climate and business cultural niceties at their destination, but increasingly, with the effects of the globalisation of threats from crime and terrorism, it is crucial that travellers are also aware of the security situation at their destination.

From the employers perspective, they have a duty of care towards their staff and contractors, and must be seen to have acted in a reasonable way, and taken all reasonable precautions, should the worst occur. Quite apart from the personal suffering involved, expensive litigation for negligence could be the least of the implications of failing to take appropriate precautions. Whilst sanity may well have eventually prevailed in a case at the High Court in Australia recently where a government employee had originally successfully sued for compensation over an injury sustained whilst having sex in a hotel room whilst on a business trip, the fact that the case ended up in the High Court must ring alarm bells for all employers.

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Of course the actual threats out there to the security for international business travellers are rather more significant than those mentioned in the recent Australian Court case and can range from crime though to terrorism, and will of course be specific to the destination. Although, given the ease of international travel both for business travellers and would be terrorists alike, the days of having totally safe destinations are sadly behind us. Travel to all destinations includes the risk to a greater or lesser extent from low-level crime, which can be at the very least a great distraction from the business focus of a trip, a high-profile example being that suffered by tennis star Juan Martin del Potro, victim of a distraction robbery at the Gard du Nord railway station Paris, who suffered the loss of a number of treasured items, not least of which were his passport, money and a rosary blessed by his fellow Argentinian Pope Francis. This was whilst travelling between tournaments in Paris and London and can only have had a negative effect on his performance. Potentially more serious and certainly more physically dangerous is the threat of terrorism. A Communiqué on the growing threat of kidnapping for ransom, issued in July 2013 by the Office of the British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that kidnapping for ransom is the preferred method of financing for Al Qaeda and represents a growing threat. There is also the issue of information security, an employee of contractor may be travelling with economically sensitive information and travellers need to be aware of the danger that wireless communications may be intercepted, either by criminals or even industry competitors.

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