So we wake up to the news of bomb attacks in a place that is close to my heart. Hua Hin on the mainland of Thailand, Phang Nga a Southern Province and the Thai island of Phuket all of which are key tourist destinations.
In the immediate hours after many terrorist or possible terrorist incidents what we don’t know exceeds what we do know. Its quite possible this isn’t a terrorist incident but anyone who knows Thailand will know that there has been years of unrest from the Muslim community in the South of Thailand.
Due to my business we are regular visitors to Thailand and have visited much of the country so although not resident there we do have extensive knowledge and experience of the country and its people.
So for the traveller either business or tourist what is the first thing that you should do now as you wake to the news of this type of incident. Well advice varies but remember that the chances of you being directly impacted are very small but the whole principle of terrorism is to cause major disruption and fear, quite literally, terror.
In the immediate minutes following an incident, If there is an incident in close proximity to where you are then get away from main areas of people and key attractions.
Speak to the locals, if they can help they normally will although they probably know as little as you at this stage. They will however be able to help you with directions etc. In a main tourist hotspot please do not let your normal senses leave you though. Just because there has been a bomb attack doesn’t mean that someone else wont see an opportunity to pick your pocket or mug you so remain alert.
Keep your senses alert at all times and be cautious of running with large crowds directly away from an immediate incident. This funnelling effect has been used in some instances to direct a large number of people towards a second explosion.
When you are away from any immediate risk check the local news channels and your countries travel advice. Most tourists or regular travellers should have the link stored on their phone as it carries such vital information.
For the UK its The Foreign Office
For the USA its Department of State – Passports & Int Travel
If you have been using our 3 Step System to Mastering Safe Travel you now have the opportunity to adjust the daily activities, the risk factors and the issues with any transitions. In fact if you have been using this for a period of time you will be doing this mentally in your head continuously throughout your trip and automatically adjusting and recognising changing and different risk factors.
This is the most difficult for the majority of people and its the judgement they make on the risk factors. In itself its actually quite a simple choice in the majority of cases whether to leave the area and return home or remain where they are.
This is a decision for each individual to make but should be heavily influenced by the information in Step 3 above. Remember most insurance policies are not valid if the advice from your government is not to travel to the area.
However as mentioned before in most instances the chances of you being involved are very small but if chance was a major determinant of human behaviour the lottery and betting agencies would not exist. The whole underlying ethos of most terror attacks is specifically to cause the most fear and impact possible even by what are sometimes fairly local small scale incidents.