Tag Archives: Leisure Sector

Europe is the world’s top tourist destination… but are tourists safe?

Worldwide, tourist travel is on the rise. Indeed, international tourism actually dwarfs any other type of leisure business in terms of growth. One of the global regions benefiting the most from this trend is Europe: the world’s first tourism destination.

Central to the dynamism of European tourism is accommodation: hotels, B&Bs and online-rented space, but due to a loose legislative framework for safety, which is rapidly becoming obsolete as our habits as tourists evolve, hotels might also become European tourism’s Achilles’ heel.

Of all the dangers posed to a tourist’s safety in a European hotel, fire remains the biggest. Currently, the legal basis on the matter is a 1986 EU Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels. Since EU Recommendations are, by their very nature, non-binding legal acts, this has resulted in mainly localised and incomplete measures. Fast forward 30 years later, and it’s clear that the Recommendation has had limited effect on hotel safety in Europe: a fact acknowledged by hotel federations and consumer associations alike.

The main issue is that local self-regulation resulting from the EU Recommendation hasn’t guaranteed an even level of safety across the EU. Enforcement varies considerably from country to country, and even from city to city, including in the same region, and largely depends on the size of the hotel. All-too-often, small hotels are less well scrutinised, and somewhat more ill-equipped than bigger ones to deal with fires. Local laws frequently link the number of rooms with compliance to the Recommendation.

Global trends

An analysis of global trends in tourism shows that, as our tourist habits evolve, the risk resulting from the current situation increases: more and more travellers choose to go ‘off the map’ opting for smaller hotels rather than big chains. This new type of tourist also tends to visit exactly those countries where safety in hotels is less controlled.

Add to this the relatively unregulated development of increasingly popular online ‘homestay’ networks, such as Airbnb, and you have a flammable cocktail. The situation seems to be calling for a fast reaction.

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The most recent attempt to initiate binding legislation on tourism accommodation safety arose in October 2015. A Resolution of the European Parliament called for a consistent European approach around risks related to fire. Reactions to the Resolution from various Brussels-based influencers highlighted a novel situation. All parties involved – ie consumer associations, hotel federations and Euralarm, the European Trade Association representing the electronic fire and security industry – now seem to agree that a legally binding EU Directive would be the right solution to address the issue.

Industry-led survey

Unfortunately, the initiative derailed due to a lack of reliable supporting data. The exact level of risk existing for the flows of tourists travelling to and inside Europe remains a question mark.

Outside of empirical observations, statistics on safety in tourism are notoriously hard to come by, with reputational issues hampering self-reporting. An EU Commission-initiated data collection programme launched in 2008 resulted in a blatant failure.

The focus now is on a survey led by the industry, rather than the EU. Among others, Euralarm has asserted its readiness to help with new data collection efforts. The organisation has also offered to provide support and expertise to the EU Institutions and the CEN-CENELEC European standardisation platform for the development of the relevant legislation and necessary standards needed to improve fire safety in hotels.

Progress in European legislation and standardisation is often slow unless the issue makes it to the news headlines. In 2004, after a number of tunnel fires with resulting casualties, the EU Commission was forced to publish a Directive on tunnel fire safety. Should we wait any further before adopting a Directive on tourism accommodation safety?

Time to act

Any failure to act quickly could lead to another cost for Europe. As tourism is now more globalised than ever, competition becomes fiercer, and parts of the world with more stringent and well-established regulations for safety in tourism accommodation might hold a key advantage.

In the United States for example, a Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act has been in place since 1990. Potential future incidents resulting from poor regulation could hit Europe’s tourism industry particularly hard. Its reputation as a safe destination has already taken a blow due to recent terrorist attacks.

Tourism is one of the engines of the European economy and an important source of jobs. Eurostat reports that one-in-ten non-financial enterprises in Europe belong to the tourism industries, and that these 2.2 million enterprises employ an estimated 12 million people. That’s more than one-in-five of individuals employed across the services sector.

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Milestone Systems and Community Partners deliver high profile retail surveillance solution across Middle East and North Africa

Milestone Systems, the developer of open platform IP VMS, has delivered a flexible and scalable surveillance solution for Majid Al Futtaim’s multi-site operations across the Middle East and North Africa. The solution integrates Best-in-Class technologies from Community Partners.

As a fast-growing business, Majid Al Futtaim realised that managing large camera networks and risks across multiple sites and countries posed several challenges. First, the outdated analogue surveillance infrastructure was in need of being modernised. Second, the sheer size of the operation, with multiple sites across several countries and more than a thousand cameras at some sites, had to be addressed.

Following a comprehensive vetting process, Majid Al Futtaim chose a state-of-the-art security and video surveillance solution in order for the business to remain at the forefront of operating safe and secure retail and leisure environments.

The Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS permits Majid Al Futtaim to operate the entire surveillance solution from a single management interface in the UAE. Being able to access all the sites from one location enables the operations team to co-ordinate surveillance and management efforts across those sites. Other relevant parties can also leverage the information directly from mobile clients, in turn enabling more efficient safety operations.

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Top-of-the-range Axis Communications cameras and Pivot3 hyper-converged server infrastructure guarantee the host business lives up to Government regulations. iCetana’s dynamic live monitoring system helps offset the challenges of actively monitoring the large camera networks and enables a real-time assessment and response capability.

Operational costs related to the hardware, servers and cameras have been reduced from 23% to 7%. Real-time response capability helps make overall security operations more effective by immediately identifying risks. Today, there are approximately 10-12 incidents actioned per 300 cameras.

“We are honoured Majid Al Futtaim has chosen Milestone as its primary VMS and we look forward to continuing to support them now and into the future,” enthused Peter Biltsted, director for the Middle East and Africa at Milestone Systems.

“iCetana is proud to provide ongoing support to Majid Al Futtaim throughout the MENA region, and also to be part of Milestone’s Partner Community as key components of Majid Al Futtaim’s video surveillance infrastructure,” added Stephen Bose, head of business development at iCetana.

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TDSi bestows AlertSystems with Platinum Partner of the Year Award for 2016

Integrated security solutions manufacturer TDSi has awarded AlertSystems with its Platinum Partner of the Year Award for 2016. The award was presented to Ian Trayling of AlertSystems and recognises the expert installer for its close partnership with the security manufacturer.

Having received the award, Paul Brake (joint managing director of AlertSystems) said: “I speak for the whole team when I say we’re delighted and honoured to be presented with this award, which reflects how closely we work with TDSi to provide our customers with the best solutions and implementation. TDSi’s products offer outstanding quality of service and value for money, which in turn helps us to offer our clients very attractive RoI in a highly competitive market. We look forward to continuing our fruitful partnership.”

Ian Trayling and John Davies Alert Systems Award

Ian Trayling (left) and John Davies

TDSi’s channel partner manager Alex Rumsey is equally enthusiastic about the award. “AlertSystems has continuously delivered the highest levels of professionalism, technical expertise and market awareness which makes them an ideal partner for TDSi,” said Rumsey. “With a highly keen interest in the market, AlertSystems has grown its business with TDSi significantly throughout the last 12 months, with a stand-out project for Capita Customer Management and Marlborough College. This award is richly deserved and we’re proud to be forging a continued partnership of success.”

As one of the UK’s leading providers of electronic security systems to businesses, AlertSystems is committed to providing excellent products and outstanding customer care for organisations seeking high quality security solutions. With thousands of commercial security installations across the UK, the company is a trusted security supplier to organisations from all major industry sectors, including transport, logistics, food production, schools, universities, hotels, the utilities and waste management.

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PEL Services’ maintenance web portal provides instant account details for customers

As part of an ongoing commitment to customer care, PEL Services – one of the UK’s specialist providers of commercial fire, security and communication systems – is now offering an online Customer Maintenance web portal to complement its Service and Maintenance Agreements.

The portal enables customers to access unedited information on their accounts from anywhere in the world in real-time on a 24/7 basis, in turn allowing them to gain invaluable information about products installed, service call reports, maintenance schedules and site attendance details at a glance.

By simply logging into their account via PEL’s website Home Page, customers can also view other important documents – such as contract information and recent Test Certificates – which are uploaded by PEL as soon as they’ve been completed.

Extremely convenient, quick and simple to use, the online facility greatly reduces administration work and offers valuable time and cost saving benefits.

PEL Services' Maintenance web portal for customers

PEL Services’ Maintenance web portal for customers

The service is a particularly useful tool for facilities managers and managing agents who may have multiple sites to operate.

PEL offers a range of Service and Maintenance Agreements for sound, fire, security and audiovisual systems, including Routine Maintenance and Fully Comprehensive cover on Third Party as well as PEL installations.

Both single site and group customers benefit from high quality response thanks to PEL’s experienced engineers.

PEL Services operates throughout the UK and overseas, supporting markets as diverse as local authorities, public utilities, the finance sector, healthcare, education, retail and leisure.

*Further information is available by contacting PEL Services on (telephone) 0333 123 2100 or visit: www.pel.co.uk

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