The Importance of Destination Safety

By Travis LeJune, Account Manager

Traveling is one of our favorite things to do. We explore, we learn, and the places we visit become a part of who we are. Of course with traveling, you always want to take precautions and travel as safely as possible, but right now, travel safety is receiving a bit more emphasis than usual. And being marketing people, we take a keen interest in how destinations respond to dangerous travel conditions and promote safety for their region.

Starting with all of these hurricanes that are hitting back to back. We are in peak of this year’s hurricane season, and it has not been a friendly one. How does an entire state, like the state of Florida, recover from a category 5 hurricane and deliver the perception of safety to its citizens and tourists?

Florida seems like a dangerous place to live, taking hits from all of these hurricanes every season. Yet, regardless of hurricanes, Florida still needs stability and assurances for the people who live there and their visitors. They do have one thing going —their experience in preparation and the ability to recover. Over the last decade, since Wilma, Florida has had almost a dozen hurricanes to learn from, and hopefully they are able to make a swift recovery from this last one.

Since this last hit, Florida will need to recover quickly and vocalize a new perception of safety for tourists to start coming back as soon as possible to maintain the state’s number one industry, generating 23% of the its total revenue.

Florida can show that they are strong and prepared for these circumstances, and that they will quickly recover and be up and running for tourism right after these hurricanes run through.

So enough about hurricanes. There are some other travel dangers you need to be aware of, and that is the recently heightened dangers traveling to Mexico.

With a 200% increase in the number of homicides in the last year, and the drug cartel wars at a peak, people still seem to be taking trips to Los Cabos and Cancun. So far this year, Mexico is on track to record the most murders than in any year in the last 20 years.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico in late August. Unfortunately, this will effect Mexico’s roughly $20 billion per year tourism industry; we want Mexico to thrive and make money, and so does Mexico!

With all of these dangers lurking throughout Mexico, how can the tourism industry stay relevant and successful?

Mexico has managed to create small bubbles with perceptions of safety right in the middle of these dangerous places. As long as you do not leave the resort, you will be fine, right?

But on top of all the dangers surrounding these tourism ‘safety’ bubbles, there is a trending danger coming from inside the resorts as well.

In the last couple of months, there have been dozens of reports of drink tainting and multiple deaths from poisoning.

Mysterious side effects and deaths from people drinking alcohol in their hotel resorts are causing a burst in the safety bubbles in Mexico.

It has become quite a popular topic among U.S. travelers. But how will Mexico’s reputation, especially Mexico resorts, recover?

They need to take control of this drink poisoning immediately and work on their PR to give the perception of safety to U.S. travelers once more.

Word-of-mouth and online buzz are their strongest tactics to combat this negative press. They also need to work on putting a familiar American face in front of this press to communicate to Americans that these destinations are in fact safe and change the conversation— Focus on how private and cheap the resorts are right now, instead of how few people are there because of the dangers. Mexico is one of the more extreme examples of a dangerous area and the extraordinary efforts the destination must take to dissolve the public’s perception.

But travel safety, large or small, is something every destination must account for constantly in their public relations efforts. Travel safety is a huge variable in tourism, and taking the right PR action to give the perception of safety for a destination is extremely important and something to capitalize on, especially right now, as so many popular destinations around the world are experiencing dangerous conditions.

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