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Hoteliers urged to take measures against terrorists

23 February 2009 by
Hoteliers urged to take measures against terrorists

Hoteliers have been urged to act now to dramatically improve their security measures after 2008 saw a dramatic increase in hotels being targeted by terrorist activity.

Statistics from Janusian's Terrorism Tracker database show a 443% increase in the lethality of terrorist attacks targeting hotels in 2008; 37 people were killed in 27 attacks in 2007 and this rose to 164 killed in 27 attacks in 2008, with the Mumbai and Islamabad Marriott attacks accounting for a substantial proportion of this increase.

In total 517 people were injured in attacks on hotels in 2008, a dramatic increase from the 226 injured in 2007.

The report claims to have identified a number of factors that determine the likelihood of a terrorist attack to any hotel, which include ownership and brand, ideology of local terrorists, its guest profile and the vulnerability of the hotel's location.

The report names Marriott as being one of the most likely chains to be targeted, but also name checks Hilton, following the Sharm-el-Sheikh attack in 2004 and the Hyatt in Amman in 2005.

Matthew Hunt, intelligence analyst with Janusian and the lead author of the hotel survey said: "The Islamabad and Marriott attacks showed the world just how vulnerable hotels are to determined terrorists.

"Our statistics make plain that for terrorist groups seeking maximum casualties and guaranteed global media coverage, attacks on hotels are a path to success."

"While aviation was once the prestige target for international terrorists, enhanced security measures have forced them to reconsider. Business hotels offer many of the same features- prominent brands, multiple nationalities and association with Western interests- with a much lower risk of failure. By their nature hotels are soft targets, often without any countermeasures to speak of."

Hunt also advised hotels to rethink their security measures and to take active steps now to ensure that adequate protections are in place.

Janusian is the security practice of The Risk Advisory Group, a risk management consultancy.

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By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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