The Great Human Migration-Chinese New Year 2010


The joy of travel?

This year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations is predicted to result in 210 million travellers, akin to the entire population of Indonesia or Brazil up and holidaying at the same time. Up 10% on last year. Air travel alone will see an increase of 29 million air travellers over the 40 days, the average monthly visitor rates for either Hong Kong or Singapore. All this makes CNY one of the great annual human migrations.

While current or persistent threats continue to act upon traveller and expatriates alike, this pilgrimage will generate and amplify a number of issues.

Airline safety and security was on the cusp of an easing of accepted trends and boarding protocols thanks to continuous and mounting pressure from consumer groups and sovereign representatives. The December 2009 attempt to detonate a device on a commercial carrier has changed that and allowed for another round of preventative frenzies and reflection. Other less popular issues have also been tabled for review such as the proliferation of falsified passports, raised by the head of Interpol.

Any major convergence of people presents a variety of public health and safety concerns. Coupled with epidemics, pandemics and varied personal hygiene standards; this will raise the level of risk to those exposed. Specific pathogens are ideally suited for transmission during this time or may benefit from accelerated global transmission. The first line of defence will be the traveller themselves.

Novice and seasonal travellers will be at risk by their actions. Carrying large cash reserves (for gift giving and travel spending), extensive wardrobe (cold and hot weather temperate zone shifts), prohibited items needed for sustenance (food and water), health maintenance (medicines and foods) and an inability to keep up to date on events that affect their travel will present opportunity to thieves, delay and frustration.

Commercial conditions will change and in some instances become hostile. Price hikes, touting, fraud, diminished services and decreased service staff will frustrate the process. While it should seem obvious that cab drivers and government staff would also partake in the seasonal break many are unprepared when they discover decreased or suspended support. Many employees will take extended holidays around key dates or public holidays.

Natural events such as weather and earthquakes will continue unabated and have a greater opportunity to disrupt. Concentrations of travellers are not the only ones at risk with those planning on connecting or transiting through areas that are affected.

The holiday and travel activity this Chinese New Year should be memorable for all the right reasons. Acknowledgement and planning for the overall upscale movements of millions of like-minded travellers will smoothen the likely mental stress. The plan is not the focal point to ensure a great family time or break but the planning process. This is even more essential for the business traveller. Consider all the facts, get good advice, keep abreast of changes as they happen, look out for others, keep in contact and be prepared to do specific things if something does go wrong.

Bad things happen to good people all the time but that number reduces dramatically for those with a plan and support.

Full Article

http://www.slideshare.net/tony.ridley/the-great-human-migration-chinese-new-year-2010

Travel Security and Risk Management Forum

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2270825&trk=anet_ug_grppro

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About Tony Ridley
Travel health, safety, security and risk management expert.

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