Christian Kaiser is stunned. How could he have gotten himself into this situation? Just a moment ago, he was standing on the sidewalk in front of his hotel in Bogotá, smoking a cigarette with relish, typing away on his smartphone and listening to his favorite song in his headphones. Now he's sitting in the back of a pickup truck, staring into dark faces - and into the barrel of a gun.
Christian Kaiser has traveled to Colombia 32 times in the past two years. Nothing has ever happened to him. Of course, he knew the reports of other business travelers. At the hotel bar, they had told him about thefts, robberies, kidnappings. But he always felt safe. He knew the country, the people, and he knew how things worked. At least, that's what he thought. Until today. And it annoyed him to no end that he had lost sight of the issue of travel security for a moment.
Travel security: business travelers are worthwhile targets
When we travel abroad on business, we leave our comfort zone. We move in unfamiliar surroundings, language barriers make communication difficult, cultural differences lead to misunderstandings. What's more, business travelers are particularly worthwhile targets for criminals. They often have sensitive information that is worth a lot of money.
Companies should keep the important topic of "travel security" in mind as early as the planning stage of a business trip. Preparation is the be-all and end-all. Employees must be prepared for the special situation in the destination country. Issuing checklists for the business trip is one thing, but thoroughly sensitizing the traveler to possible dangers is another.
Knowing "Travel Safety" rules and minimizing individual risk.
The basis of travel safety is the individual behavior of the traveler. It is not without reason that a well-known proverb says: He who puts himself in danger, perishes in it. This wisdom certainly has a kernel of truth. However, as is well known, there are ways and means of dealing with danger. If you know the common "Travel Safety" rules and follow them, you can minimize your personal risk of getting into a dicey situation.
Security Island, a product of mybreev GmbH, has developed a multifaceted e-learning course on the topic of "Introduction to Travel Safety - Safe on the Road." Participants in the multimedia-based online seminar receive tips on how to organize safe business trips. In the process, their awareness of potential hazards while traveling is heightened. This also includes everyday aspects such as proper nutrition. The risk of falling seriously ill while traveling due to poor hygiene is actually significantly higher than becoming the victim of a crime.
Dangers during business trips: Many risks are avoidable
Nevertheless, back to Christian Kaiser. He is still chasing around Colombia's capital in the pickup truck. He is scared, beads of sweat glisten on his forehead - and it is slowly dawning on him what mistakes he has made. At the hotel bar a few days ago, he had told a dubious stranger about his work, and he had been throwing money around all the time ("My company pays!"); moreover, he had developed certain routines. For example, smoking a cigarette in front of the hotel every night at 10 p.m. sharp. There, on the sidewalk, the cell phone and the music had clouded his attention. Then this truck came. The occupants dragged him into the back seat. And now - Kaiser knew what was going to happen - he'd have to call his employer to get them to pay a lot of money and eventually abandon him in a parking lot. The ordeal could have been avoided.
Travel safety: In exceptional situations, it's a matter of life or death
Some risks associated with business travel abroad cannot be eliminated despite the best planning. Sensitive situations such as hotel fires, terrorist attacks or car accidents are real threats. So are robberies, shootings, carjacking, arrests by corrupt police officers or infectious diseases. If you suddenly find yourself in such an exceptional situation during a business trip, you need to know how to get out of it in one piece. Such moments are a matter of life and death, which is why it is essential to at least deal with them theoretically in advance. Only those who have already run through the options available to them in such an exceptional situation will know how to protect their lives.
Security Island's e-learning library offers the online seminar "Behavioral training for exceptional situations". With many real-life examples, participants are specifically prepared for how they should react in dangerous situations - and how they can prevent getting into such an exceptional situation in the first place during a business trip.
Knowledge of travel safety can save lives
It may be true that the knowledge gained from such online training is needed only once in a lifetime. It may also be true that the greatest dangers only lurk in so-called high-risk countries. But it is definitely true that knowledge in the areas of "travel safety" and "correct behavior in exceptional situations" can actually save lives. Not only in the remote corners of the world, but also on our own doorstep. The fact that there is no such thing as 100 percent security even in the middle of Europe was demonstrated not least by the Paris attacks in 2015.
Special risks and challenges: Travel security for women
Even though we started this text with the example of Christian Kaiser, we have to remember that it could also have happened to Christiane Kaiser - and then the danger situation for the victim would be even more threatening. When traveling on business, women are exposed to very different risks than their male colleagues. Security Island has responded to this and developed an e-learning course that specifically addresses the needs of female travelers. The online seminar "Travel Security for Women" shows female business travelers how to prepare for gender-specific challenges abroad and how to deal with such dangers on site.