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Disasters are normally caused by nature. However, they can be caused also by human beings. Disasters usually cause loss of life and property. The Mumbai terrorist attack is an example of disasters that are caused by human beings. This essay examines the impact of Mumbai terrorist attack on The Taj Mahal Hotel, its consequences, and what we can learn from the Taj Mahal Hotels’ experience during and after this event.
The Mumbai Attack
The Mumbai incident, which occurred on December 26, 2008, is among the most deadly terrorist attacks that the world has witnessed in the recent history. A study, which was done by the RAND Corporation, revealed that during the attack, more than 167 people were killed (Rabasa, 2009). The Taj Mahal Hotel was the best venue for the terrorists because it was filled with people, mostly the local elite and foreigners. Being one of the landmark properties and a famous entertainment centre, the terrorist group was assured of killing as many people as possible, mostly foreigners. The attack was well planned, and the attackers were physically and mentally prepared. They had a detailed diagram of the hotel, and, therefore, they knew their way around the hotel and had heavy firepower. This event had a major impact on safety, security and emergency procedures in the hotel industries. It was clear that in the Mumbai incident, the hotel management had information about the intention to attack their hotel, but they failed to inform the Intelligence Unit, probably due to the lack of certainty and specificity (Rabasa, 2009).
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The Impact of Terrorist Attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel
When terrorists attacked The Taj Mahal India, the hospitality industry was seriously affected. Taj Hotel is among the most preferred hotels in Mumbai, India. The hotel is renowned for its high level of personalized and excellent customer services. In addition, it is located at the gateway of Mumbai city, thereby, making it to be easily accessible. Before the attack, the tourism industry in India was growing at a steady pace. Taj Mahal Hotel used to host more tourists than any other hotel in Mumbai. Analysts argue that the terrorists wanted to kill people and also affect the Indian economy. The attack occurred during the tourist peak season in India. Following the attack, Taj Mahal Hotel saw thousands of hotel bookings cancelled. Different countries, including the UK, US, Germany, Australia and France issues travel advisories to their citizens and this caused huge losses to the hotel businesses, including Taj Mahal.
After the attack, Taj Mahal strived to enhance its security systems. Thus, they incurred huge losses in purchasing and installing surveillance facilities, and also training employees on how to carry out searches on guests.
What We Can Learn
The terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel should motivate and prepare business enterprises to have a plan for unpredictable disasters. Such a disaster is likely to occur again, and, thus, the government in liaison with other stakeholders should invest in intelligence gathering and security surveillance facilities. According to the report in the Hotel Asia Pacific done by Steve Shellum, 50% of hotel owners have not increased their security measures, more than a year after they have been attacked (Shellum, 2002). In fact, 50% of the respondents, according to the report, claimed that they had not made any effort to invest more in the security systems of their hotels. Moreover, 35.9% of the respondents disclosed that they did not think their hotels were safe (Shellum, 2002). Resorts neglect the improvement of their security systems based on many excuses. According to the report, excuses range from lack of funds, “attitude of it-can’t-happen-here” and complacency (Shellum, 2002). These attitudes are mostly found in the Southeast Asia resorts and hotels.
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The hotels need to realize that the cost of preventing the disasters is not as high as the cost incurred after a disaster, for example, a fire or terrorist attack (Gillum, 2000). To prevent loss of lives and property, the hotels should adopt the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach. The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach to disaster enables business organizations to react to catastrophes (Perry & Lindell, 2003). For instance, hotels and resorts should invest heavily in protecting the safety of its guests, staff and property. The first measure that hotels should take according to the ERM approach is to train its entire staff members on the importance of security. The second measure is checking the luggage of guests and staff. By checking their belongings thoroughly and using bomb detecting devices, the issue of bomb attacks is reduced by a big percentage (Ellis & Stipanuk, 1999).
In conclusion, business organizations should be prepared for any uncertainty that may arise. Such catastrophes as Taj Mahal Hotel terrorist attack are relatively unpredictable but, unfortunately, when they happen they result in high losses. The hotel industry should adopt the ERM approach in preventing disasters. For instance, they should upgrade their security systems in order to offer better protection to guests, staff and property. Hotels should also improve their surveillance system and improved their emergency communication systems. It is beneficial for them to invest in efficient fire fighting equipments and make sure that there are efficient escape routes and staffs are well trained on the most effective actions to take in case of a disaster.