Singapore 19th October 2010
I was supposed to leave for Hainan tomorrow but super typhoon Megi is causing havoc in the area, with already huge damages in the Philippines, so I have decided to postpone my trip. No need to play the hero. I may be able to reach Sanya, but with landfall in Hainan expected late tomorrow the typhoon may make work impossible and as a result we may be stuck for some days as well. The client is understandably not happy as we had already postponed the trip for other reasons, but nowadays I don’t feel putting myself at risk unnecessarily. My design manager travelling with me is a young mother of a 1 year old adorable boy, why put her life at risk as well? My travel agent advised us strongly not to travel unless really urgent.
What is wisdom? Nature is hard to predict and the path of the cyclone my change direction as they often do and never hit Hainan, who knows? Time will tell. If it does hit Hainan and create extensive havoc, I will feel justified for my decision to cancel. If it in the end does not hit Hainan and does not cause any measurable impact the client will feel justified in insisting I come. In the end we make our own judgment call on these situations, and to me today was an easy decision to make.
Nowadays there are also other travel alerts related to terrorism. I have cancelled a previous trip to India late last year when the government issued a travel alert for India as there was an impending risk for terror attacks. Again the client was not happy but I made the call and even though nothing happened I believe it was the right decision. I note that a year earlier I was just a few days out of being in one of the Mumbai hotels when it got attacked by terrorists…the thought was rather chilling!
So nowadays we have a travel alert clause in our contracts that allows us to cancel trips when travel alerts are issued for travel, whether in regards to natural causes or potential terrorist threats. I think it is a sensible thing to do and it makes the client aware from the beginning that you may not come out when such travel alerts are issued.