Dickson Igwe, Senior political contributor

In an increasingly dangerous and insecure world, safe travel destinations carry a value that ‘’ is worth their weight in gold.’’ Safety adds value to any tourism brand.  

In a recent article on safe destinations, a travel blog and traveler magazine described the Virgin Islands- British- as exceedingly safe for travelers. In fact, the British Virgin Islands are at the top of the safe destinations list worldwide, and is the safest destination in the Caribbean.

It was a very heartwarming read for this writer who remembers the Virgin Islands of the late 1980s, where leaving a wallet or handbag lying on the car seat in Road Town, with the key in the ignition, was no concern for the car owner, who expected to return to his vehicle with nothing stolen, and everything intact.

In the Virgin Islands of the early nineties, residents never had to lock their doors, or shut their windows, even when they were out during the day or in bed at night. Sadly those days are long gone. Still, the country is placed in the ‘’exceedingly safe’’ travel destination, category.

Now, this was a much glossed over news story on travel safety but it is potentially a huge advertising boost for the British Virgin Islands, and ‘’safest destination on earth’’ should be effectively leveraged as part of the Tourist Board’s global marketing strategy. Safety and security sell big in tourism.

Now! There is no greater factor that impacts quality of life, more than safety. Safety and security determine life quality in every way imaginable, and in every parameter of human existence.

For example, the placing of health and safety at work at the top of the priorities list for managers is pointer to the vital importance of safety for Joe Public.

Then, safe infrastructure and safe work practices are a measure of the safety of schools, hospitals, roads, parks, and the list is endless. Safety and security directly impact the quality of the services a country’s government and businesses provide.

Airline safety is top priority for the aviation industry.  Placing safety at the core of the airline business is another example of the critical importance of safety. Air safety is at the pinnacle of the management culture in the airline industry for obvious reasons. In fact, the stress on airline safety has turned flying into an exceedingly safe form of travel in spite of the rare airplane crash.

On average, there are 93,000 daily flights originating from about 9,000 airports around the world. At any given time, there are between 8,000 and 13,000 planes in the air around the globe. And the airplane crash is nearly unheard of these days, in spite of the vastness of the air travel industry.

Safety is a critical factor for the commercial health of the airline industry. An airline with a poor safety record will swiftly find itself in the hands of the liquidator.

And so it is with countries and their tourism. No one wants to travel to an unsafe destination. A destination may possess awesome geography and the friendliest people. However, one terrorist incident or a highly publicized series of robberies and murders can swiftly send that country’s tourism into the doldrums.

To be continued 

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