Online fraud affecting the global tourism industry

Fraud affecting the tourism industry is one of the fasted-growing crimes, involving villa-rental fraud, air-ticket fraud, fake food poison scams, as well as others. Losses to potential holidaymakers are considerable and are increasing, and the industry, including travel agents, hoteliers, villa letting companies and individuals who let properties, all suffer as a result.

Tourism is increasing globally and Portugal is the choice for many, particularly from Northern Europe. It is likely that fraudsters will take advantage of this trend, resulting in a further increase in this activity.

Safe Communities Portugal, the Algarve Tourism Board and the Judicial Police Officers Association have planned a “unique conference”, entitled ‘Online fraud affecting the global tourism industry’, as a pro-active initiative to address these issues. The event, to be held on November 9 at the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve in Faro, from 9.30am to 5.45pm, will be officiated by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho.

This seminar will explore the threats posed to tourism and what steps are being taken in Portugal to identify the risks and reduce the effects. It will provide an opportunity for attendees to gain a greater insight into the problems resulting from such fraud, including the experiences of the local letting and management agents who deal with victims.

“The aim of the conference is to identify best practices, which can help the industry in creating awareness, enhance preparedness and thus put in place appropriate measures to reduce these frauds in the future,” said David Thomas, president of Safe Communities Portugal.

The seminar will aim to “improve standards in the construction, design and management of websites and social media in the advertising of holiday accommodation and related services, to make them more resilient to fraud”.

The conference will bring together around 12 presenters, who are experts from the national cyber security centre in Lisbon, police, a UK-based international fraud expert, consumer organisation, hotel, travel and property letting associations, and travel industries. There will be plenty of opportunity for the participants to ask questions.

Property letting companies, tour operators, property management companies and property owners who let properties are encouraged to the conference, which “will be the first international conference of its kind to be held in Portugal – possibly Europe,” say organisers.

The conference is sponsored by TUI and Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve.

This is a full day conference and entry is free. The event is in English and Portuguese. Registration is required by contacting [email protected] no later than November 6.