A worldwide travel alert was put in place by the US State Department, encouraging travelers to remain vigilant for terrorist attacks when heading out of the United States. The alert was issued Nov. 23 in the wake of attacks in France, Mali, Denmark, Turkey and Nigeria, along with the suspected terrorist bombing of a Russian airline in Egypt. The alert is set to expire Feb. 24, 2016. This is the first worldwide travel alert issued since 2013.
The alert is focused on terrorist groups al-Qaida, Boko Haram and ISIS, with the State Department warning about attacks that continue to be planned in multiple regions. The groups may use a combination of conventional and unconventional weapons, and the attacks may target official and private parties.
Authorities say the threats come from terrorist groups as well as from individuals who are not affiliated with the groups but inspired by them to plan their own attacks. Attacks have been varied, targeting crowded theaters, open markets, sporting events and air travel service providers.
US citizens traveling abroad are encouraged to:
- Exercise increased vigilance in public areas or on public transportation
- Avoid large crowds or crowded locations
- Be extra cautious during holiday events and festivals
- Be prepared for extra security screenings and potential disruptions
- Stay in touch with friends, family and applicable business associates, providing them with contact information where you can be reached at all times
- Monitor local and global media sources for regularly updated information, amending travel plans as necessary
If travelers have any suspicious behavior to report while on the road, contacting the local authorities responsible for safety of visitors in their host country is the recommended course of action.
Travelers can also enhance their personal security by signing up for the Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that registers your trip with the nearest US embassy or consulate.
Potential Impact on Business Travel
A Cowen and Co. research note says travel from the US to other countries has historically decreased immediately following events such as the Paris attacks. Travel demand usually improves as weeks pass.
The improvement this time is expected to be slower than usual due to global uncertainty stemming from ongoing terrorist threats and the overall instability of the world.
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