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When tourism-industry historians write about the early 21st century, they may well view the week of October 1, 2017 as one of its hardest moments. The week began with news of terrorism attacks in both France and Canada, then quickly culminated in the shocking massacre of 59 concertgoers which took place at Mandalay Bay Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Most people understandably want to know the personal history of shooter Stephen Paddock and what motivated him. But there are other issues even more important to society at large than the mass murderer himself, and hospitality/tourism-industry professionals in particular needs to be careful not to get distracted by a single tree from the perils to the entire forest.
Instead, they must concentrate on the truly paramount issue: how do we protect visitors, locals, event attendees, employees, and security and law enforcement agents in an age of uncertainty and violence. These questions and the answers we can discover are the most important lessons we learn from the Las Vegas attack. What has happened is now history, and it is our task to help the victims heal as best as they can, as well as seek ways in which the tourism industry together with governments and law enforcement can we work together to prevent future tragedies.
This article is not about public policy. It addresses what is in the control of the hotel industry and nothing more. Before examining the situation in Las Vegas it behooves us to review and clarify some important facts: