Security & Tourism project: field visit in Munich and coordination meeting

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Munich, Germany, 7-8 July 2014 – All the partners of the Security & Tourism project met in Munich (Germany) on 7-8 July for a presentation of the security and tourism policy of the city and a coordination meeting on the progress of the project.

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Dr Willfried Blume-Beyerle, Deputy Mayor in charge of Security, welcomed participants and highlighted that Munich is considered the safest German city. He evoked the numerous projects implemented in his city in order to constantly improve security and welcomed the fact that Efus membership allows Munich to exchange with European partners. With a population of 1.6 million, Munich is a major tourism destination, thanks notably to two important assets: the presence of the Bayern Munich football club and the annual Oktoberfest (beer festival). But Munich also boasts a rich historic and cultural heritage as well as many shopping areas. Another advantage is its ease of access.

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Geraldine Knudson, in charge of marketing the city’s tourism offer, gave an overview of the sector, which is equally divided between business and leisure tourism. She said that local authorities want to maintain this balance because of its positive impact on the economy but also because local residents do not want to be disturbed. One interesting aspect of the marketing policy of Munich with regards to tourism is that tourists are invited to take part in the life of the city.

Denis Faustine, of Munich’s fire brigade, presented BasiGo, a research and training project he set up with all the local partners, which seeks to establish a series of factors that must be included in any security scheme related to large public events. This research stems in part from the disaster of Duisburg, in which 21 people were killed in a stampede during the Love Parade, in 2010.

Afterwards, participants were shown the Tollwood Festival, the yearly summer festival of Munich, which celebrated this year its 25th anniversary. A large event that attracts about a million visitors each year, Tollwood is, according to organiser Anja Lechner, geared towards the “alternative” crowd. It promotes “cultural diversity” and aims to be “a green platform for the environment”. Most of the activities on offer during the festival are free.

The second day of the visit was dedicated to the project Security & Tourism itself. The two project experts, Rob Mawby, Professor of Criminology at the University of Gloucestershire (United Kingdom), and Janez Mekinc, Associate Professor at the Institute for Tourism Studies of the University of Primorska (Slovenia), intervened. All the partners also gave an update on their work, in particular on the audit that each city is conducting as part of the project.

Partners also discussed the final recommendations of the project and in particular the theme of the support to victims. João Lazaro, Director of the association for victim support APAV (Portugal), presented an operational framework for intervention with tourists who are victims of crime. He said that it is important to include associations for victim support in the partnerships involved in local security and tourism policies.

Lastly, the project partners discussed the content and schedule of the project deliverables, i.e. the final conference planned for the spring of 2015 and the final publication that will present the work carried out as part of the project.

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