Mumbai attacks force rethinking of travel security

Amid stoking other security concerns, one significant impact resulting from the Mumbai blasts is that it has made international travellers and companies rethink their travel security issues.

“The situation in the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel will have many companies re-evaluating the security clauses in their hotel programmes,” said Susan Gurley, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

“Hostages reported they were unable to get any news from failed cable systems and that the phones were out,” she added. “Yet at least one guest reported they were in contact with their corporate travel department and a news agency via a cell phone. This will put a new emphasis on the need to travel with a reliable flash light, a small self-powered radio, and a cell phone with international capabilities.”

ACTE represents the global business travel industry through its international advocacy efforts, executive level educational programme, and independent industry research.

The travel research firm also predicted that business travel to India might sustain a temporary drop in response to the terrorist attacks.

“However the situation remains fluid and companies will be looking at the overall response by Indian security forces and the potential of a sectarian backlash before making any long-term travel decisions,” said Gurley.

According to ACTE, reports indicate that companies with diverse business interests in numerous cities throughout India were immediately reviewing their security plans, which include safe houses and evacuation procedures in the event of terrorist acts or civil unrest. Yet long-term travel disruptions to India seemed unlikely at this time, the company said.

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