Skip to main content

Tourism leaders focus on increasing safety, security

December 09, 2008

Tourism and security experts from throughout Arizona and the nation recently collaborated on ways to heighten safety and prevent crimes against tourists at the Third-Annual Tourism Safety and Security Conference at the Hotel Valley Ho.

More than 75 leaders in the tourism and convention industry discussed the need for investing in safety and security, especially as luxury hotels are increasingly drawing attacks from terrorists. The conference on Nov. 21 was hosted by Arizona State University's Megapolitan Tourism Research Center.

"The critical importance of learning new ways to improve tourism safety and security is further underscored by the recent attacks on two of India's most famous hotels," says Dr. Timothy Tyrrell, director of the Megapolitan Tourism Research Center. "These are the types of tragic incidents this conference annually focuses on trying to prevent or handle in the most effective manner possible."

Those in attendance included members of the Phoenix Police Department, Arizona Office of Tourism, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Fiesta Bowl- Insight Bowl, Phoenix Job Corps Center, Southwest Risk Advisors, Anderson Security and 20 hotels and resorts.

Participants took part in an unscripted, real-time response to a mock disaster situation involving an explosion at a hotel during a major convention. They outlined what should be done in the first 30 minutes after the explosion, as well as the following steps of response and recovery. This included dealing with employee loss, informing the media and delegates, and concluding the convention.

Other topics included crimes against tourists; community planning and response to the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas; training staff to handle emergencies; and the important role that meeting planners play in the safety and security of visitors.

The Megapolitan Tourism Research Center is devoted to studying the role of tourism in community development in order to strengthen its contribution to viable economic, social and environmental systems, especially in megapolitan regions around the world. The center is part of the School of Community Resources & Development, located in the College of Public Programs at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. For information, visit:

Tim Tyrrell,
Professor, School of Community Resources and Development
Director, Megapolitan Tourism Research Center