In an increasingly global and connected world, understanding the broad spectrum of travel security threats organisations and employees will face in 2020 and beyond is crucial.
Risks cannot be removed entirely, but with reliable and appropriate intelligence in addition to adequate preparation, they can be mitigated against. While some perils such as crime are universal, commercial operators will also have industry-specific concerns. With this in mind, we present to you the 2020 Travel Security Special Edition.
The extractive industries, including mining and hydrocarbon exploration, are some of the most vulnerable to kidnapping and extortion. Their tendency to work in remote locations and often in countries with limited rule of law are just some of the reasons industry operatives are particularly vulnerable to kidnap and extortion threats. Kidnappings in Burkina Faso and Libya, and the theft of valuable cargo using insider information in Mexico have brought these challenges to the fore this year. For commercial shipping piracy, terrorism and geopolitical tensions have presented a variety of challenges in 2019. With at least 150 recorded maritime security incidents this year, areas such as the Gulf of Guinea, the Sulu-Celebes Sea and the Arabian Gulf continue to play host to diverse threat actors, both criminal and militant. The perpetrators' profiles and motives for these attacks are varied, and informed by complex local and regional dynamics. Expert insights that cut through the noise to shed light on an ever-shifting threat picture remain of critical importance.
2019 saw at least 157 aid workers fall victim to violence or wrongful detention. Both state and non-state actors have targeted non-governmental organisations’ personnel. Since aid work often takes place in high threat environments, where governments have limited political will or resources to maintain security, NGO personnel and organisations will continue to face security challenges.
For travellers and businesses in the hospitality sector alike, crime remains one of the top concerns. In 2019 the concern has been proved as valid by an uptick in robberies of travellers in the likes of Spain and South Africa, and an increasing frequency of online scams targeting tourists in the UK, France and elsewhere. Educational institutions, meanwhile, continue fall victim to violent active assailant attacks, often with tragic consequences. Active assailant incidents, by their very nature, are unpredictable. However, understanding how, where and by whom the attacks are perpetrated can provide useful insights for schools’ crisis management planning.
When the worst happens, it is vital to know that the people responding to your crisis have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to see you through. In kidnap for ransom and extortion incidents, the perpetrators are predominantly motivated by financial reward. To manage this process, responders need a solid understanding of how an exchange of money for the safe return of a victim is handled.
Understanding industry-specific threats and their commercial implications will remain a focal point for our team in 2020. Together with AXA XL, we will continue to assist our clients develop appropriate measures to counter the travel security threats they face, whether this is through timely and accurate intelligence, the correct insurance policies, or tailored journey management plans.
Associate, Security and Crisis Management
Read our 2020 Travel Security Special Edition for more global security insights.