SECURITY CONCERNS VERSUS TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
What exactly can handle the impressions of strict security contrasted with great-experience needs?
After sailing seamlessly through immigration counters at airports in 60 plus countries in the the last decade and a half, to be asked to step aside for further questioning at the Ben Guiron airport in Tel Aviv came as an irritant, howsoever minor. Especially since they allowed me to go without asking a single question.
The world today is cautious, suspicious and should definitely be on guard. However, from the tourism standpoint, how smooth, unobtrusive and efficient this process can be may define tourism friendliness to starry eyed visitors.
Adverse news relating to security or safety hits tourism like a ton of bricks. And if the ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the dictum to follow, the thankless job of relevant bodies to nip crime or unrest before it happens turns vital.
Any lack of deterrence and detection abilities of security apparatus is inexcusable in today’s world. Towards this, even among front line travel industry workers, consistent development of security measures, personnel and training rises to the forefront. They should not just be equipped professionally and emotionally to tackle such situations whenever they arise but also try to prevent them in the first place.
Recently there were reports of panic created by an irresponsible passenger at Atlanta in USA that led to the authorities almost vacating the airport. Closer home in India’s Rishikesh an ugly midstream brawl on the rapids between rafters was another irritant. Similarly, regular news of unsavoury arguments amongst passengers themselves and with crew as well, during flights requires definitely keener attention.
Thankfully enhanced and greater travel experiences can always help ride over such hiccups.
As my last fortnight’s experience showed, the sheer sunny disposition of Nadia, our guide in Jerusalem who narrated three thousand years history right till 2023 with humour and wit and Majid, our eager young Uber driver who stopped the car to actually treat us to baklava he bought for us from his favourite shop at Tel Aviv were very warm experiences indeed.
So much so that the brief cross examining, even while entering the airport to fly back didn’t seem a bother.
(The views expressed in the column are of the author, and may or may not be endorsed by the publication)