Hamas Assassination Underlies Deeper Need for Improved Security in GCC's Hotel Industry
The assassination of a senior member of Hamas in one of the Emirate's leading five star hotels in January this year attracted global attention. Shedding insight into such cases will be the 3rd Annual Development and Infrastructure Security Summit taking place at Le Royal Meridien, Abu Dhabi from 17 - 20 October 2010.
The Hamas incident had disrupted the picturesque setting which Dubai's tourism and hospitality industry is typically associated with.
During times of economic hardship, security consultants are quick to suggest that security is not seen as a necessity and is often one of the first areas which is hit by budget cuts. Despite the advantages associated with good security, such as increased business because of ensured stability, the lack of obvious monetary returns makes security an easy target for spending reductions.
The spate of hotel bombings which have occurred in the Middle East, Asia and Africa over the past decade should be a bleak reminder that hoteliers must remain vigilant, in times both good and bad.
"Hotels are seen as high profile targets which have recognisable brand names that are identified as being Western owned," states Bill Fairweather, hotel security expert and Chairman, Institute of Hotel Security Management. They are more inclined to be intended as a target "because they are often frequented by royalty, diplomats, VIPs and senior figures," he continues.
While high profile attacks grab the attention of the media, more subtle methods of criminality should not be forgotten. According to a recent New York Times article, instances of credit card fraud are particularly prominent in the hotel industry and are one of the best sources of information for hackers ('Credit card hackers visit hotels all too often', July 6 2010).
"Hotels need to develop new security measures to combat changing criminal trends," asserts Bill, "theft is perpetrated by both internal and external factions, it's not just your handbag thieves and burglars."
And the best way to secure a hotel? Bill recommends "consulting with security experts in the hotel industry and speaking with specialist police departments."
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