At least every six months, the State Department updates its Worldwide Caution, which warns U.S. travelers of pressing threats and dangers. On July 29, the agency released the newest version, which highlights high-profile attacks since the top of the year and strengthens the language for certain destinations.
The department’s overall message remains the same. “Recent terrorist attacks . . . serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” the document states. “The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas.”
In light of current events, it reminds Americans of terrorists’ methods of violence and delineates common target locations. Many of the spots are popular among travelers, such as hotels, restaurants, public areas, sporting events, shopping centers and public transportation. It also mentions more specific examples, such as the January attack at a Paris kosher market, the February shootings at a cultural event in Copenhagen and the March massacre at a Tunisian beach resort.
As before, the global caution provides detailed information on six regions, including Europe, Africa and South Asia. Several of the destinations hold slight appeal for the typical tourist. But for the few who are curious, well, they might want to wait awhile. For example, in the Middle East section, the agency added this stern warning: “Private U.S. citizens are strongly discouraged from traveling to Iraq, Syria, or any other country to join in armed conflict.” It also heightened concerns in Libya and Tunisia.
However, a number of the countries and cities mentioned in the report do rank high on Americans’ wish lists, despite ongoing rumbles. For example, in the entry on Kenya, the agency draws attention to terrorist strikes in the Nairobi area, along the coast and around the northeast. For India, the department repeats the same pronouncement from January: “India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly.”
The State Department urges travelers to stay informed and in touch. Follow the news and check the travel alerts and warnings on the agency’s Web site. Also sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive security notifications and assistance in case of an emergency.
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