Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Travelers, Listen Up! State Department Unveils New Travel Advisory System

The State Department has a new travel advisory system for ranking countries’ safety levels Under the new designations Turkey is considered a ‘Level 3’ country. Viacheslav Lopatin Shutterstock
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2018, 05:31

On January 10, the Department of State launched improvements to how it shares information with USA travelers.

The US govt. said that the new travel advisory has been issued in order to provide citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide.

Based on CNN's review of the published information eleven countries landed in Tier 4: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, the Central African Republic, Yemen.

The advisory issued by the State Department categorised over dozen countries in terms of threat level with Pakistan occupying Level 3, the second last level in terms of danger.

Level Two means "exercise increased caution" for nations where there is a heightened risk to safety.

"Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and evidence suggests they continue to do so", says the State Department.

"Advisories are based on information from intelligence agencies, U.S. embassies and host countries' governments,"she added".

Officials insisted the change was to make advice clearer to USA travelers, but the travel warning system has always been controversial and often offends foreign capitals.

The US said its new travel advisory is simpler and replaces all previous travel warnings and alerts.

The United States has advised its citizens to "exercise increased caution" while travelling to India.

The US has been ranked as the top source of tourists to Kenya.

Countries have been issuing travel advisories for its citizens time and again, considering the present global scenario.

"We wanted it to be an easier to understand system", Risch said.

Northeastern states also find a specific mention in the advisory. This could also solve some confusion travelers often had about the meaning of a travel warning or alert versus an advisory. Bernier-Toth told reporters it was not listed as a Level Four, even though most US diplomats have been ordered to leave the country over concerns they were targeted for attacks, because it still has not been determined what caused embassy personnel to suffer hearing and brain injuries.

If a country is ranked at a level two - "exercise increased caution" - or above, the score will be accompanied by a reason for the increased risk.

"We reduced staffing in Havana, and every time we do that we release a travel warning, which is reflected in our current Level 3 for Cuba", she said.

North Korea is also Level Four, with the additional restriction that U.S. law prohibits American travelers from using their passports there, effectively banning visits.