Understanding State Department Travel Alerts

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The State Department’s web site explained that a travel alert is issued for short-term events like political demonstrations or a health issue- the H1N1 outbreak.

The State Department issues travel warnings “when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.” A travel warning might be issued for a country in the middle of a civil war, on-going violence or frequent terrorist attacks. “Travel warnings remain in place until the situation changes,” the State Department. “Some have been in effect for years.”

Usually, travel companies, tour companies and travel agencies will follow the advise of a travel alert or warning at first. In the case of Egypt, travel companies worked to get their clients out of the country.

Tour companies are starting up trips to Egypt again while the State Department’s travel warning is still in effect. In an attempt to re-start tourism business, tour operators will collect their own intelligence about whether it is safe to return to a destination, give clients that information and let them decide.

“Our decision to head back to both Egypt and Tunisia came after extensive meetings with our ground operators, community leaders and tourism officials,” Alan Lewis, chairman of Grand Circle Corporation, which owns the travel brands Grand Circle Travel and Overseas Adventure Travel.