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How Business Travellers Can Stay Safe in the Worlds Hotspots

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"How Business Travellers Can Stay Safe in the Worlds

- by John Williams

DigiLectual Inc. 2004

Business travellers increasingly find themselves needing to
visit hotspots. Outside Europe and America, many countries
need special care. Obviously, Iraq wouldn't be the number
one choice for a business trip. But other countries, like
Saudi Arabia or parts of the Far East, require attention

Horrific stories of kidnapping and murder scare anyone
planning to visit a hotspot. But what are the real risks ?
And what can you do to minimize those risks ?

Let's make a list, and discuss each in turn.

* Kidnapping
* Attack
* Robbery
* Accident

It's reassuring to discover few travellers fall victim to
kidnapping. Kidnap victims are usually local people or
resident expatriates. Why ? Probably because travellers
are unpredictable. Kidnappers don't know their plans,
where they're staying, or even that they're there at all !

Random attacks are much more likely, but the risk of these
can be much minimized, as we'll discuss later.

Robbery - theft of possessions and money can be common
among travellers. But these risks can also be minimized.

The biggest threat to business travellers comes from
accidents. The number of road accidents, in particular,
far exceeds any deaths in terrorist incidents.

How to minimize risk

Reduce your risk by good preparation. Learn about the
country and city you plan to visit. A number of websites
will help your research. The U.S State Department runs a
website at The British
Foreign Office maintains a website at - you
can find constantly updated general and country specific
travel advice.

If you get advice, follow it. Don't ignore it. Keep a low
profile where possible, and don't draw unfavourable
attention. Is that a good neighbourhood you plan to walk
around ? How about that quaint little bar ? Maybe it's the
local criminal hangout ?

Find out what you can before you leave, and then take local
advice when you get there. Chat with your taxi driver and
your hotel manager. You'll find out 99% of what you need
to know from these two guys


So, before you go you've already found out about good and
bad areas of town. You've learned enough to book a good
hotel in a good area. Then you'll fill in more detail when
you get there (manager, taxi driver etc.)

But what if things go wrong ?

Okay, you've taken steps to reduce your risk. But
accidents sometimes happen. You might get robbed in broad
daylight on a busy street, though it's unlikely.

Get proper insurance. Standard travel insurance covers
most situations, and you should check with your broker.
Not all insurance covers business travel, so check. In
some higher risk countries, you might need specialist
insurance. Yes, you can get insurance to cover emergency
evacuation, or even payment to skilled negotiators to help
secure your release.

But you only need insurance when it's already too late.
Make contingency plans to get yourself out of a bad
situation. You've got backup plans for your computer
systems and other business operations. Make backup plans
for yourself.

If you get caught in political disruption or natural
disaster, what will you do ? Communication usually
disappears first. Buy or borrow a mobile phone that works
locally. Take your own tri-band phone, or rent a phone
locally at the airport. Make sure you've got a local
contact who can get messages back if necessary (agree this
in advance).

So there's little need to worry about the more horrific
incidents we see on T.V every day. But more mundane risks,
such as robbery or attack can be minimized by the right
preparation. Use the internet to research where you're
going, and use the U.S and U.K Government web sites for up-
to-date advice.

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