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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Buyers should be aware of what risks and potential conflicts could arise over the next few years in emerging parts of the world.
ITN's head of high risk security, Colin Pereira, told the ITM conference that buyers should educate their travellers about risk in countries where their companies could be expanding over the next five to 10 years.
In a 30-minute presentation, Pereira advised buyers on what steps to take to put preventative measures in place to ensure traveller safety, giving examples from his own work at ITN and also as deputy head of high risk at the BBC.
“When doing a risk assessment don’t just look at a country at that particular time but what you have to be aware of is the context of risk at present,” said Pereira.
“Look out for trends in countries that are emerging such as India, Philippines, Nigeria and Brazil, all of these have the potential for high risk.
“These countries are building roads, expanding infrastructure and companies are designing business models to enter these markets and will soon start taking people from the West and putting them in these places that are extremely dangerous.
“I send a lot of journalists to emerging markets to cover conflict issues,” he added.
Pereira urged buyers to look at the entire country when assessing risk, and used the example of Egypt in 2011 where the unrest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was not replicated across the whole area.
“Ask your travellers on the ground what is happening because there are many times I see the news and panic, then I phone the traveller and they are fine, so don’t get to carried away with this risk assessment,” he said.
Pereira, who also runs a consultancy advising companies operating in fragile environments, said it's important to have good contingency planning as it's a legal requirement and part of company’s duty of care for employees.
"You can't control risk and the traveller does not care about that piece of risk assessment paper,” he added.
“The only way that risk assessment matters to the traveller is when it will benefit them and that's your contingency planning. How am I going to evacuate, what hospital am I going to put them in? Travellers feel so much better when they know all these things and you've thought them through.”
He added: “Families are a major factor in this. I have to have a good relationship with them as it’s a horrible feeling walking into a room and telling them their husband or wife has died going somewhere I asked them to go.
“It may seem extreme but what I would say to businesses who are sending their travellers to places that are dangerous is that you need to think like that.”
Pereira also spoke about reputational risk and how badly managing a situation can cause long-term damage to your company.
“If you are a business that sends people to high-risk situations and they start dying, people will know your name and that stays with the company forever and will hit your bottom line.”
Read our feature on managing travel for journalists in conflict zones