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The travel industry is extremely sensitive to security and safety, especially with the increasing uncertainties associated with unpredictable terrorist activities, radiation spills from nuclear power plants, natural hazards and disease outbreaks. These factors affirm the dangers associated with travelling since most of the hazards are either unpredictable or invisible. In addition, available literature focuses on providing safety tips, travel advisories and avoiding dangerous place when travelling, a clear indicator that the world is increasingly becoming a dangerous place for travel expeditions. On the other hand, travelling is increasingly becoming inevitable, which increases the complexity of the issue of determining whether travelling is safe or dangerous. In order to address this issue, it is vital to assess the prevalence of hazards that make travelling dangerous. It is also crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of security measures deployed by governments to ensure safety in their countries. According to Gustav (45), safety during travel is paramount, except in cases where a person is on an unavoidably risky travel expedition such as covering news on war torn places and natural hazards. The 9/11 attacks and the recent earthquakes and radiation spills in Japan were a revelation for governments to reinforce security and safety in order to restore confidence among travelers to visit such places. As such, governments have boosted their security and safety procedures in a bid to enhance public safety in the event of uncertain incidences. This has resulted in conclusions that heightened security measures and improved disaster preparedness has made the world safe for travelling. The contradictory viewpoints regarding travel safety complicate the issue, since it is difficult to affirm that the world is increasingly becoming dangerous or travel safety is a personal responsibility, since people have to formulate their own methods to guarantee their own safety during travel. This paper argues that travelling is increasingly becoming dangerous because of the unpredictable and invisible nature of hazards.
Eime (78) considers travelling as a passport to death and suicide and suggests that people should take into account other alternatives, such as telecommuting, in order to avoid the dangers posed by travelling. The first significant dangers associated with travelling are accidents and crashes, which are usually messy and fatal. All means of travel have their associated risks of accidents, with the only difference being the prevalence of occurrence and degree of fatal outcomes. In either case, less prevalent accidents are characterized with minimal chances of survival, which is the case for air travel. The chance of surviving an aircraft accident is almost zero, despite the fact that their probability of occurrence is low when compared to forms of ground travel. The official United States statistics indicate a death rate of 0.01 per billion passenger miles for the case of air travels. Air travel safety is jeopardized by the fact that terrorists view airplanes as a channel for initiating terrorist attacks. Accidents are extremely evident in the case of ground travel, although they have higher chances of survival than air travel. Accidents and crashes at ground level arise from poor road conditions, lack of experience with the local traffic rules, and ignorance for personal safety. Eime (85) considers the minibus as the most hazardous form of ground travel in the world. This is because the management of public transport is being taken over by unregulated entrepreneurs, which results in a high number of motor accidents. With technological advancements and the need for fast travel, super modern electric trains move at unimaginable speeds, which reduce the chance of survival in the event of an accident. An example is the tragic bullet train accident in China, which resulted in the death of 40 passengers. Technological advancements may improve speed of travel, but the consequences of failures are costly.
The second factor that makes travelling dangerous is the risk of exotic diseases, which are likely to attack naive travelers. According to Lauvik (52), the most prevalent exotic diseases that affect travelers include tuberculosis, HIV/ AIDS, Ebola virus, malaria and hepatitis. These exotic diseases are contagious and require extra attention to avoid contamination. Exotic diseases are responsible for the death of about 10-15 travelers because of unfavorable weather conditions and disease outbreaks. Man-made hazards in travel destinations also reduce safety during travel. An example is the recent radiation leakage from a nuclear power plant in Japan. Such threats are invisible and impose adverse health complications on travelers. In addition, man-made hazards are likely to propagate to other elements such as food and air, which aggravates the level of threat imposed by such radiation hazards. The impacts of biological, human-made and technological disasters on travel safety cannot be ignored since it can change the attitude and confidence of travellers regarding the safety of their destinations. The situation is worsened by the inefficiency of government to handle such situations effectively in such a way that restores travellers’ confidence and trust. It is apparent that the costs imposed by biological and human-made disasters outweigh the gains of travelling to unsafe destinations (Lauvik 55). In order to ensure safety during travel in such destinations, it is essential to carry out research on the disease outbreaks and government initiatives to mitigate them. In addition, personal hygiene during travel helps in avoiding exotic ailments. Other pre-travel precautions when travelling include a guaranteed access to emergency phone lines such as local police departments, family members and doctors.
The third form of travelling hazards includes kidnapping and terrorism. Perpetrators of terrorism view their acts as a noble cause to justify their actions. This implies that terrorist acts have unpredictable outcomes. Kidnapping is a form of criminal activity whereby the perpetrators have the main objective of extracting money. A common trend in terrorism is that United States citizens are considered primary targets of terrorist actions, which increases their vulnerability to such acts within and outside the US. Criminal activities such as assault, homicide attacks, violent robberies and thefts serve to inflict bodily harm and increase the dangers associated with travelling. An increase in criminal activities and drug violence increases the likelihood that a person will be caught in the middle of such encounters with the law enforcements. According to Eime (68), about 200 foreign travellers are kidnapped while only 10 percent are reported to the law enforcement agencies. For example, Columbia is the leading country with the highest number of kidnappings that sum to about 10 reported kidnappings daily. The outcome of kidnappings and terrorist acts are unpredictable and may cause unwarranted death for foreign travellers. Kidnappers and terrorists are tense and irrational, implying that it is vital for a victim to be calm and alert when managing his or her individual behaviour during such incidences. Travelling is not safe anymore in a world characterised by random shooting, kidnapping, terrorism and increasing criminal activities. Gustav (69) argues that there is no need to travel; exposure to such threats can be avoided by using alternatives to travelling, which have been facilitated by technological developments such as telecommuting.
Despite these hazards across the globe, travelling is inevitable since people travel for numerous purposes such as leisure, work, adventure and family. The inevitability of travelling implies that travellers have an individual responsibility for their safety during travel. Cliff (45) argues that natural, biological and technological hazards have been part of humanity since time immemorial, and does not serve as an excuse to avoid travelling. People have to formulate their own methods to guarantee their safety when travelling. The September 11 attacks and the increasing prevalence of natural hazards have compelled governments to deploy appropriate security measures, disaster preparedness and recovery strategies to increase public safety. This is evident in tightened airport security and other modes of travel, increased presence of law enforcement to ensure public safety and an increase in public awareness concerning their safety. Cities are gradually implementing building codes in order to ensure that they are safe against the occurrence of natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Most countries are prioritizing national security and counterterrorism, which have resulted in significant improvements in travel safety. Cliff (75) asserts that the world is increasingly becoming a dangerous place, although safety during travel depends on personal initiatives and not the conditions of the world. People must adopt a proactive approach when travelling to ensure their safety. The basic argument is travellers must ensure that they familiarize with destination and avoid visiting hazardous places, which pose the need for pre-travel planning.
In conclusion, it is apparent that travelling is dangerous due to the hazardous state of the world. The paper has presented evidence to conclude that travelling is dangerous because of the increasing prevalence of natural, man-made, and technological disasters. The uncertainties and unpredictable nature of these disasters serve to increase the hazards associated with travelling. In addition, there are notable cases of inefficiencies of governments to handle such hazards. Despite the view that safety can be perceived as a personal initiative, the prevalence and magnitude of hazards can overwhelm such personal initiatives. In addition, governments are yet to implement effective safety and disaster mitigation measures. The underlying is that travel is dangerous.
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