State Department Issues Travel Alert For Europe, Travel Agents React

by Cheryl Rosen
State Department Issues Travel Alert For Europe, Travel Agents React

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

 

Recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom demonstrate that terrorist organizations like ISIS “have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe,” says the caution, released yesterday. “While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department nevertheless remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks.  U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning.”

In particular, the State Department suggests, extremists “focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets.  In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks. U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations, in particular during the upcoming summer travel season when large crowds may be common.”

The State Department advises that travelers in Europe should check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in their destination city for any recent security messages, and U.S. citizens should also:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Have an emergency plan of action ready.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Travel agents have their own advice – beginning, of course, with using a trained travel professional to stand behind you in case of emergency and to buy travel insurance. “I am honest with my clients,” says Sarah Boville. “They need to be educated and travel smart. With Europe season upon us have already had a few conversations. Prior to going have them register with the State Department, be in touch with family at home regularly, be aware of their surroundings and be smart.”

Many also suggested offering travel insurance. Said Erica Drakee at Liberty Travel, "[Some] trip insurance will cover you if you chose not to go, or if you happen to be attacked while overseas, as some of our clients were in Paris when the bombings happened. They were injured but airlifted out and saved within three days because they used a travel agent and an insurance company who covered the costs of over $450,000 on two family members. So yes.....if saving you means pulling you out ASAP instead of waiting in chaos with everyone else, if it means you coming home with a travel agency behind you AND knowing you're 100% covered on medical costs of your loved ones."

Travel agents can find the full alert on the dedicated State Department page for agents through the link on the TMR website and sign up for the STEP program to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 

  2
  0
Tip of the Day

The role of the agent as post-sale caretaker and problem-solver cannot be matched by any known or foreseeable force in the industry.


Paul Ruden

Daily Top List

The World’s Top 5 Airports

1. Changi Airport, Singapore

2. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

3. Zurich Airport, Switzerland

4. Hamad International Airport, Doha

5. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Source: Wanderlust

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Headquarter Happenings: NEST’s Home-Based Travel Agents Gather in Orlando
Headquarter Happenings: NEST’s Home-Based Travel Agents Gather in Orlando

Experts talk about the importance of setting goals to help home-based agents build their businesses.

Where Do Travel Agents' Responsibilities to Clients Begin and End?
Where Do Travel Agents' Responsibilities to Clients Begin and End?

Modern legal thinking says the agent-client relationship begins with the first contact and only ends when the trip is concluded.

Travel Agents Can Attract Customers in the 'Consideration Phase' for Bigger Sales
Travel Agents Can Attract Customers in the 'Consideration Phase' for Bigger Sales

Travel industry experts advise targeting consumers during the “consideration phase” by having a brand that sells less and inspires people to travel more.

Advising the Wealthy: Travel Agents Need to Save Clients From Themselves
Advising the Wealthy: Travel Agents Need to Save Clients From Themselves

Successful travel advisors give tips on how to establish trust and become the travel confidant to the top 1-percenters.

As REAL ID Deadline Approaches, Having a Passport More Important than Ever
As REAL ID Deadline Approaches, Having a Passport More Important than Ever

As diplomatic relations toughen in the Trump White House, the REAL ID Act deadline may yet get some teeth—and travelers in many states may be required to show a passport for even domestic travel.

Documentation is Key to Protecting your Travel Agency
Documentation is Key to Protecting your Travel Agency

When it comes to employment law, making sure you put everything in writing goes a long way.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: South Africa Tourism