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World Tourism Organization

World Tourism Organization stops the disastrous `Travel Advisories`

REPORT – WTO 16th GA 2005: The issue of how Ministries of Exterior Affairs from various countries are handling…

REPORT – WTO 16th GA 2005: The issue of how Ministries of Exterior Affairs from various countries are handling travel advisories, has concerned a lot the World Tourism Organization in the last years, with the continuing problems caused by terrorist actions with greater or lower impact and viruses which come up in different places in the world.

Travel advisories and the way they are edited and announced instead of protecting the civilians by informing them, they cause greater problems to destinations and states which concern, from the terrorist action itself, the virus or any other issue that was the occasion for the publication of such advisories.

In the framework of the 16th General Assembly of WTO, which held the previous week in Dakar, Senegal, the plenum of the full members of the Organization, which today number 150 states, took some decisions that from now on they are recommendations and instructions to the bodies which publish travel advisories and stop the uncontrolled and unthinkable travel advisories.

Specifically the General Assembly decided that:

Preparation, language and publication

  • A wide variety of relevant governmental and non-governmental sources should be used, whenever possible and appropriate, in gathering information for preparing advisories
  • Travel advisories should be accurate, relevant and appropriate, avoid ambiguous language and as well as bias and political considerations
  • Information contained in travel advisories should be published on a central, easy-to-use and widely known website so that the various branches of government involved coordinate their message. Travel advisories should be regularly updated, preferably within a period of three months
  • Travelers should be encouraged to consult, prior to departure, all sources of information, both governmental and non-governmental

Announcements concerning travel threats and risks

  • Public announcements of travel threats and risks that are contained in advisories should be specific, whenever possible, about the geographical location of the problems and include maps and indications of distance
  • Travel advisories should be specific about the nature of the threat or risk and they should be developed through a robust and considered process. The following are examples of categories of threats and risks that may be addressed:
  • Political (due to political process)

    Social (crime, delinquency) Related to terrorism

    Envornmental (natural disasters)

    Industrial (sucs as chemical or nuclear hazards) Related to health (communicable disease status and emergencies, such as epidemics)

    Related to transportation systems

  • Prudence and restraint should be used in evaluating the threat and in the language used. Threats ans risks should be communicated in an accurate and consistent manner by characterizing, as far as possible, the scale, probability or imminence of the problem or event
  • Public announcements of threats and risks in advisories should be under constant review and in each case should specify the date of their publication

Cooperation with affected countries

  • Affected countries should provide timely and accurate advice about changes of circumstances to the issuing countries through the established communication channels. It is, however, understood that it is up to the country issuing the travel advisory to make its own assessment affecting the safety and security of its citizens
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