Will last week's "London Riots" impact the 2012 Olympics? As disturbing headlines and footage circled the globe, this question has been raised a number of times.
No cancellations have been reported in the wake of last week's uprisings, and the tourist board, tourism experts and representatives from major hotels remain optimistic.
I am still of the view that civil unrest in the UK, Europe and North America have minimal impact on tourism and incentive travel. I DO think there will be additional precautions for buses, subways and trains. Following Singapore's example during the IMF meeting, heavily armed patrols may be visible at Heathrow Airport. (I witnessed patrols with M16s at Changi Airport.) Tight security and active policing along the lines of what Toronto experienced during the G20 in 2010 are also likely. Hotels may institute security similar to what travelers expect at airports (e.g. bag inspection, metal detectors and scanning). The model already exists in the industry. (I have personally viewed heightened security at hotels and resorts in Egypt.)
The International Olympic Committee has significantly improved the safety of the games based on valuable lessons from the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. Conference planners would be wise to consider what additional precautions are in order. For example, it is important for event and meeting planners to ask questions about security when selecting hotels and corporate event venues for the Olympics - or for any sensitive event, for that matter.
What other security precautions do you suggest?