Governmental and Institucional Travels through fiction

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GITT (Governmental and Institutional Travel and Tourism) travels are so assimilated in the minds of today's society that we hardly realize that it is constantly happening around us. Visits by ministers, presidents or former presidents, members of royalty, etc. are the daily routine, both in the real world and in the fiction that we constantly consume in series, movies, novels, etc. This makes us unaware of the amount of requirements and special features that surround this type of travel; both security, protocol and other types.

What examples can we find?

To justify our statement, we will give some examples. The movie "London has fallen", is one of the best fictions that show, in great detail, the complexity of GITT travels. In it, a large number of heads of state from several countries of the world travel to London on the occasion of the state funeral of the British Prime Minister. It is possible to appreciate situations so characteristic of these trips, such as the preparatory meetings of the hosting parties (joint security committee), as well as those of the invited delegations (preliminary considerations phase) in which the information gathered by the advance teams, among other issues, is discussed.

But there is still more; the film also shows the different displacement operations of the day in which the State Funeral is celebrated. There are scenes as usual in governmental trips as the runway pickup of a president upon arrival at an airport, the helicopter transfer to the place where the motorcade that will take him to the cathedral where the event will take place will start, the boat transfer of another head of state on the River Thames, the impressive security measures deployed in the city (snipers, blocked streets, police on foot, on horseback, in vehicles...), the security rings surrounding the VIPs of the Delegation, and so on. In addition, in this film, we can also see what happens when the security of the VIPs is compromised and the security teams and rings are activated. In short, this is a film in which one can see, to perfection, all the details, especially those related to security, that a GITT trip entails.

And then here comes the protocol…

But we also find GITT details in other fictions, as for example in the Netflix series "The Crown", where, in episode 8 of its second season, a historic meeting is described: the visit of President Kennedy, accompanied by his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, to Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, the Duke of Edinburgh. In this episode, more protocol-oriented requirements are represented in the GITT sector; or rather, errors in protocol that occur during the meeting. This is something much more common than one might think in this type of meeting, since the difference in cultures and, therefore, in the way of relating to each other, of the different representatives of the countries, can lead to errors, confusions or mistakes that sometimes cause more than one headache for the heads of protocol of the different delegations.

Issues such as the place to occupy during dinner, the treatment of the Queen or the curtsies, can be observed perfectly during the almost 58 minutes that the chapter lasts. But undoubtedly, the most striking scene takes place when, at Buckingham Palace, during the reception by Queen Elizabeth II to the President and the First Lady, the hierarchy is not respected. By this hierarchy, President Kennedy is, saving the differences, the counterpart as Head of State, of Queen Elizabeth, so they are the first to greet each other, giving way then to the consorts. The curious thing is that this does not happen in fiction, but rather, President Kennedy, making a display of courtesy and chivalry towards his wife, gives way to her to greet the Queen first and, after the greetings, gives way to her again, to go, accompanied by the Queen, to the room where the dinner will be held. It is understood that, due to the customs of the time, this was normal among ordinary people, without institutional or governmental positions or roles, but these rules change when it comes to two figures representing their countries as Heads of State, which equates them, and entails that they should treat each other as such, regardless of their sex or the rules of courtesy of the moment.

GITT travels within the borders of the represented country?

In addition to these two examples of fictions that portray the GITT reality, we can name many others, such as, for example, some scenes from the movie "JBL", where we can see, at the beginning of the movie, scenes typical of the governmental and institutional travel sector, such as President Kennedy's arrival in Dallas. Here we can identify an intra-border GITT trip, since this type of travel includes all those trips made by members of governments and institutions to any place, whether within or outside the borders of the country they represent.

As already mentioned, there are numerous examples of GITT trips in fiction. In this article we have tried to exemplify some of them, since their identification, when their special characteristics are recognized, is quite simple, precisely because of their peculiar and characteristic features. The high level of security, the protocol requirements and many other particularities are perfectly represented in series, movies and novels, bringing the general public closer to all those details of the movements of governments and large global institutions that sometimes go unnoticed.


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