Is your meeting destination safe?

There is no city or country that wants anyone to believe it is anything but safe for residents and for visitors. As a Washington, DC resident (yes, in the District not in a suburb!) I know the comments made about DC.

I also know the potential financial impact on destinations of information that paints it as unsafe and that there are many counter examples that show where, in a destination, it is safe to be. I take to heart the admonishment from a city's CVB to me about cautioning people about asking questions to ensure safety before heading there.

Thus, I write this blog with mixed feelings: On the one hand, as a learning facilitator for our industry who puts an emphasis on risk considerations, it would be hypocritical of me not to tweet or write about issues to take under advisement. On the other hand, I know that for our industry and for communities to thrive, we have to highlight the positives and encourage taking meetings and traveling to those destinations.

In the last week, two headlines grabbed me that cause me to weigh in on the side of caution. One is the US State Department's advisory about traveling to and in Mexico. The other is about the continuing problems faced by Detroit

If you follow the news in your own community, you know that budget cuts are hurting emergency services including controlling outbreaks of communicable diseases.

Are these reasons not to select a destination for meetings? Where, on the list of priorities (travel costs, taxes, hotels within walking distance to a convention center, restaurants, rates, etc.) do you add risk? And if you have risk on your list, how do you measure it?  What and how do our industry associations consider (other than funding) when they select cities? [Funding .. another topic: if I were a resident of a city in bankruptcy, how would I feel about funding a meeting that might one day bring more business but today is taking away from what can be spent on emergency services or feeding people? .. for another time.]

Let's discuss. I really don't have easy answers.
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