//Communication key during incidents abroad, says Nikki White

Communication key during incidents abroad, says Nikki White

ABTA executive made statement during panel discussion at WTM

Nikki White, the director of destination & sustainability at ABTA, has said that foreign governments need to be more transparent and alert when a serious incident occurs in their country.

Speaking at WTM at a session entitled ‘Taking responsibility for safety and security’, White said that some countries still believed that saying nothing was the best policy when an incident occurred. However, she added, that the information void was often viewed as “sinister” by UK tourists. 

“What safe and secure means has changed a lot over the last 10 years,” she said. “It used to be slips, trips and falls but now it’s about counter-terrorism.”

She added that 70 million people travel overseas from the UK every year and that “very few people get caught up in these types of incidents but when they do its very high profile”. 

“Some countries think it’s better to say nothing … that is worse and appears more sinister. They end up with a void that needs to be filled.”
She added that good work was often being done but that in many cases it didn’t filter down to front line staff.

“Customers want to know that they will get a good response when an incident happens, and that needs to be in the hotel environment,” she said.
She added that a hotel’s front line staff needed to be informed when an incident occurred – as they were the ones who would be dealing with hotel guests.

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.