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Destination planning: three key elements of risk awareness

This article was published on Cruise & Ferry on 24 May 2024

As recent threats to shipping routes, political unrest and the global pandemic have revealed, the passenger shipping industry must manage destinations prudently and prepare for emergencies to ensure it can effectively respond to changing security situations around the world.  

For the cruise sector, understanding the security profile of destinations is an important pillar of decision-making and planning. Developing this profile is a complex exercise that requires cruise brands to examine different elements, including everything from political and technical security conditions to societal trends, threats and risks. They can use these findings to thoroughly plan itineraries and onshore activities. At an operational level, these insights help with contingency planning and crisis preparedness, and at a commercial level they serve as an additional rating factor for insurance companies and underwriters.  

First, cruise brands should evaluate government travel advice. To establish specific risks, a destination planner should also analyse the immediate port facility security conditions in accordance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.  

Next, they need to evaluate the current security situation and any emerging trends, risks and warning signs in the wider community. This is challenging and involves evaluating crime statistics and court records, as well as looking at developments in consumer prices, resources for public health and infrastructures, relevance of religious communities and other communal capacities.  

The destination planner must identify factors in all dimensions of a community that contribute to the security conditions, including the so-called ‘what’ and ‘how’. For example, they should look at administrative boundaries, political practices, and societal capabilities. By interpreting developments in the ‘how’ and ‘what’, destination planners can identify trends to derive the possible impact they may have on the current security situation.  

The combined analysis and assessment of the three elements provide comprehensive risk awareness for planning and management. It remains, however, a ‘dynamic’ exercise that should be performed regularly. 

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