Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Could it have been prevented?

It's been a bad week for tourists, at least according to media reports. Consider:
If you dig into the past few months' news, its easy to find stories of tourists becoming victims. Travel is such a huge industry that when anything happens to a tourist it gets splashed all over the news. Statistically speaking, most travellers do not experience serious problems like injury or death. However, what makes these cases interesting is the speculation surrounding them: Who is to blame? Could these incidents have been prevented?

While swimming in chum-filled waters with sharks was probably not the safest activity to engage in, what about the normal act of flying? Is the flight attendant to blame for a lack of care? Should the victim have taken more precautions for her health? Should the 82 year old snorkeler have stopped the first time he felt short of breath? Did the abseiler take necessary safety precautions? It will take a lot of time and a lot more questions to reveal the truth (if it's possible).

If my experience in travel safety has taught me anything it's that people have a different tolerance for risk. Your best bet is to learn about the risks, no matter how big or small, and take steps to mitigate them. But avoid risks altogether? I don't think we can, or should.

In the meantime, I won't attempt to provide a definitive answer for the question I posed in the title of this blog. That's for investigators to decide, not the media.

No comments: