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Increased Security Checks in Hotels Prompted by Recent Terror Risks

The increased fear of extremist attacks has led to a heightened sense of security in resorts and hotels in most parts of the word, but the same cannot be said about the hotels in the US. There is still reluctance to intrude the privacy of guests and with recent Vegas shooting that acclaimed a minimum of 59 lives, more cameras being installed and hotel staff being put through more training.
The privacy concerns and cost are some of the reasons why metal detectors and X-ray screening of guests’ luggage that is the norm in airline travel will probably never be accepted.
Hotels are mostly privately owned and even at that, they are major public places. Some of the luxury hotels in some part of the world have their entrances through a shopping mall and their lobbies are usually extremely busy. In most countries, the hotel security makes use of firearms, X-ray machines, vehicle barricade and other security measure to minimize the possibility of an attack occurring there.
The King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where the US president as well as other foreign national leaders have stayed have infrared cameras and robots in sewer capable of detecting bombs, the air conditioning system is designed to block out attacks with the aid of poison gas and the windows on the higher floors are bullet proof and can withstand rocket propelled grenades.
After a man with gambling addiction carried out an arson attack in June in the Resorts World Manila casino in the Philippines that led to the death of 37 people, management of this casino stated that they had to hire a security contractor by the name of Blackpanda, after which lots of security protocols were updated.
The casino had some security measures before the incident where by people had to pass through metal detectors and their bags X-rayed. However, the attacker found a way to get past those security measures with an ammunition vest and assault rifle.
Compared to the 23 guns and prodigious ammunition stockpile that Stephen Paddock, 64 had in his 32nd floor Mandalay Bay hotel room, his was a trifling arsenal. The planning an execution of the deadly Vegas attack by Paddock is something that is sure to attract attention. How he managed to carefully prepare and carry out his attack remains a mystery.
A professor of hospitality and tourism, Bjorn Hanson stated that with the recent shooting, he expects that many hotels will increase the number of cameras to enable proper monitoring; however, he doesn’t see how a single event will serve as the catalyst for more intrusive measures like the X-ray machines and metal detectors in the United States.
Perhaps, the pressure from insurance carriers on hotels will lead to increased training of hotel staff to be able to spot suspicious materials or behavior as stated by Hanson. He also said that there is a model for in training to help staff identify human trafficking.
A security expert at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Jeffrey Price noted that room cleaners in hotels should report to their supervisor if they see any weapon while carrying out their duty but also went on to say that it will be extremely difficult to check people’s luggage in a place like Vegas, especially because it isn’t uncommon to find people with lots of luggage. He also states that an attempt to check every luggage will cost billions of dollars, probably infringe on all privacy laws there is and the logistics involved would be a nightmare.
Hanson and Price noted that people should be responsible for themselves when attending a major public event. They advised that the exit routes be checked and an escape route be selected in case something happens. Details of this escape plan should be shared with companions and family members present at the same function.
After the shooting, the American Hotel and Lodging Association stated that hotels in Las Vegas are closely working with the authorities. Katherine Lugar, the group’s president stated that the safety and security protocols in hotels are constantly reviewed an updated. She went on to say that more changes will be made in the future as more facts are known about the attack to prevent similar events in the future.
Hotels currently employ measures such as asking people to show their room key before they are allowed past the lobby and some floors are restricted to only those with key cards. The fact is, the United States don’t have as much attack frequency as in some of the countries where hotels have tougher security measures. And when the stricter measures are examined on a cost-benefit ratio, the stringent measures seem less needed.
Some regions aren’t willing to take the risk while some can’t afford it. Africa saw 2 attacks within one month in 2015 which cost 38 lives in Tunisia and 18 lives in Mali.
Since that attack, hotels have brought in metal detectors and beefed up police presence and for a country like Tunisia that depends on tourism; the number of tourists visiting the country has plummeted. On the other hand, the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali has brought in bag scanners and vehicles aren’t allowed to pass the front of the building. Extra security measures weren’t enough in some cases.
Attackers successfully got explosives past metal detectors and security guards in Indonesia, 2009 to set off a blast at the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels. 8 people were killed. 6 years later, 12 were killed in a car bomb in the same Jakarta Marriott.
In 2008, some extremists left 160 people dead when they targeted a train station, a restaurant and 2 luxury hotels in India. As a result, Hotels in India have started using X-ray scanners and handheld trace detector to prevent devastating attacks like that in the future. A facial recognition system was set up by the upscale Lemon Tree hotel at New Delhi’s airport to help keep track of visitors.
CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Mario Hardy stated thereafter that India and Indonesia have strengthened hotel security since then. There are more security cameras, X-ray scanners are used and vehicles are thoroughly checked. He also said that most consumers find these checks annoying, however, recent events have shown how important it is to have adequate security.