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Tourism chief blasts ‘irresponsible’ report

FURIOUS London tourism boss David Campbell has
condemned a survey that put London at increased risk of a terrorist attack,
describing the report’s authors as “despicable scaremongers”.

The VisitLondon chief executive claimed the survey,
the 2004 RiskMap report, was nothing more than a “cynical piece of advertising”
for the authors, the Control Risks Group.

The survey, which assesses the safety of 195
countries, puts them into one of five risk categories, ranging from low to
extreme. It has raised the risk rating for London from “low” to “medium”, and
claims the capital has become “the pre-eminent terrorist target in Western
Europe”.

Speaking at the VisitLondon stand at World Travel
Market, Campbell said: “This is completely and utterly irresponsible, with no
basis. It’s despicable scaremongering, showing complete disregard for Londoners
and visitors.

“It is nothing more than free advertising for the
company. Safety within cities is not something you should try to create a
league table for. It is a serious matter that ought to be treated with the
utmost care.”

As soon as Campbell was aware of the survey, he held
top-level talks with tourism minister Richard Caborn.

“I want to assure people London has not become any
more dangerous overnight,” he added.

London mayor Ken Livingstone backed the capital’s
security. “Because of our past experience, London has some of the best
terrorism experts and precautions in the world,” he told Travel Weekly.

A spokeswoman for the Control Risks Group denied it
was scaremongering.

“We’ve been doing this report for 12 years and the aim
is to highlight trends in safety and risk for our clients,” she said.

“We are certainly not in the business of
scaremongering. We are just saying there is a possibility of terrorist action
in London.”

 

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