Georges Panayotis: Terrorism breeds new face of tourism

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Terrorism breeds new face of tourism

France today, Belgium yesterday, but also Great Britain, Spain a few years ago… European nations are targeted by terrorists for their involvement at some degree in the Middle Eastern conflicts or even just because they are symbols of a Western way of life. In each and every case, innocent victims were killed or injured, and emotion struck a whole nation for weeks and months.

Despite the violence experienced and the fear provoked by these terrible events, life went on. As we all know, tourism is one of the most resilient economic activities. Over the last decades, the curve of international travel only bounced down twice, in 2001 and 2009. The desire for travel and the growing population with enough revenue to travel are strong basis for immediate recovery when a natural catastrophe, a conflict or a terrorist attack occurs.

These events were terrible but somehow conjectural phenomena. After the Paris attacks and last week’s mad drive by a terrorist mad to mow down French partiers with a truck killing nearly 100 people in Nice, will this still be the same? Certainly not! Compared to previous similar terrible events, the effects are lasting longer on the hospitality industry in Paris. Despite the International Conference on Climate last October and the Soccer Euro Cup last week, the French capital has been experiencing a double-digit drop in occupancy rate and revenue for almost over a year. Hoteliers have never reached that level of worry.

Somehow, we have entered a new era where safety is no longer certain. Nowadays, insecurity is among the permanent factors travelers have to process when preparing for trips. Governments and local authorities are reacting as much as they can, without much of a convincing argument. The call for more reservists to join the police and military forces is a sign of greater concern but not of relief.

In fact, every economic agent of the hospitality industry has now to participate in the quest for more security. The business model, the operational organization, the investments should now add a definite item of safety and security. We are now in a transitional period where visitors are questioning the opportunity for travel, and that’s not good for our industry. Isolationism would be the worst response.

Destinations are confronted with the measures they should take to protect their visitors and the message they will convey to the world as an open city, region, country… It’s hard to admit, but optimism is out of the equation for a moment. Europe, France, Paris and other popular metropoles should be ready to face difficult times for a while.

No destination can honestly claim it’s totally secured from an act of violence and they will re-inforce the controls at airports, stations, theaters, museums, department stores, public areas… This is a new fact of life, a new face of international tourism.

The good news is that mankind is adjustable to new environments. The second good piece of news is that adjustments are made quicker than ever. Therefore, there is a slight window for optimism when everyone will integrates to this new environment.

Source: Hospitality On

GEORGES PANAYOTIS, PRESIDENT & CEO - MKG GROUP

Georges Panayotis is President of MKG Consulting. Born in a family of hoteliers for three generations, Georges Panayotis, 51, left Greece at the age of 18 to pursue his studies in Political Sciences and to obtain his Master in Management at the French University of Paris Dauphine. He then joined the Novotel chain, which will become the Accor Group, to manage the International Marketing Division. After developing specific marketing tools for the hotel industry, he left the group in 1986 to start his own company, MKG Conseil, now MKG Group. In twenty years, the group has become the European leader in studies and consulting for the Hospitality industry. The company employs over 100 people in four departments: marketing studies, database, quality control and trade press, with two publications HTR Magazine and Hotel Restaurant Weekly. The company helped the development of over 2,000 hotels in France and in Europe, with offices in Paris, Cyprus, London and Athens. Georges Panyotis is the founder of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards and the Hotel Makers Forum, and the author of several publications on Marketing and Operations in the hotel business, He is a regular consultant for several television channels, among which Bloomberg Television, and radio networks.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

 

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