In light of the recent European travel alert issued by the U.S. government, we have created a two-part series on what you should know and tips for traveling internationally. International business travel is on the upswing as corporations look to global markets for growth. With that increase also comes a heightened concern for travelers, not only as they navigate unfamiliar cities and cultures abroad—but also as civil unrest, terror threats and extreme environmental conditions touch nearly every major and emerging business market.
Indeed, the United States government earlier this month issued a rare terrorism alert for individuals traveling to Western Europe. Without identifying specific cities or countries, the alert advised travelers about possible terrorist cells, likely targets and urged vigilance when using public transportation and other services. "Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure," the alert stated. "Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling." This type of alert is one level below an official travel warning, which would advise individuals against traveling in specific cities or countries. Asked whether such an alert would affect business travel to Western Europe, Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition doubted whether it would cause business travelers to cancel trips that were already planned, but commented that it might deter them from booking near-term trips. "The biggest impact will be those people who right now haven't yet made their plans," Mitchell told the Associated Press. "They're the ones who will forestall their decision until the situation is a little bit more clear." Just days after the U.S. government issued the alert, French police arrested at least a dozen suspected terrorists planning an alleged attack. In addition, a U.S. attack drone killed suspected terrorists in Pakistan that were reportedly linked to planned attacks in Germany. And, there was last week's incident involving bombs on cargo planes from Yemen.
Is your organization concerned about the alert on European travel? For next Wednesday's post, we'll discuss specific practices business travelers and companies should follow in regards to international travel. Stay tuned for more!