The Government of Great Britain is in the process of preparing a "white paper" that will suggest possible improvements and changes to be made in the way the British Government issues foreign travel advisories.
In a consultative process that solicits the widest range of opinions on the subject, balidiscovery.com's editor wrote last week to Mr. Robert Chatterton Dickson, the Travel Advice Reviewer at Whitehall in London, to share a Bali-view of the changes needed in the way travel advisories are issued.
What follows is the text of our letter and a link to Mr. Chatteron Dickson's e-mail, should you like to share your thoughts on the subject.
Robert Chatterton Dickson, Travel Advice Reviewer, Whitehall, London
Dear Mr. Chatterton Dickson:
The undersigned is the operator of the e-travel website balidiscovery.com and a major destination management company located in Bali, Indonesia. We are availing ourselves of this opportunity to contribute our thoughts on the current review of travel advisories being conducted by the British Government.
We sincerely believe that the current system of travel advisories is inequitable and contributes little of value towards the protection of your country's citizens traveling abroad. In this regard, I would like to repeat the statements contained in an open letter sent to the U.S. President, George W. Bush during his visit to Bali on October 22, 2003 by the Indonesian tourism industry.
Our comments delivered to Mr. Bush are equally applicable to Her Majesty's Government:
• The war on terror is an international conflict. After September 11, 2001, the world did not declare New York and the United States as unsafe to visit. This would have punished the victims and played into the hands of terrorists' aims. As terrorist targets, the people of New York, Washington, Nairobi, Jakarta, Bali, and others – have all been equally victimized.
• The battle against terrorism is a shared responsibility. When every nation is a potential target of terror, it is wrong to single out individual nations, like Indonesia, and issue such warnings. These negative travel advisories are equivalent to a tourism trade embargo by your country against Indonesia.
• Indonesia is an ally in the war on terror. The world has praised Indonesia's police and judicial response to the October 12, 2002, Bali bombings, citing it as an excellent example of a victory in the international was on terror. President Megawati and her government are committed to eradicate terror.
We now call on you, asking to be treated as a true ally in this important struggle. The current travel advisories — which are highly prejudicial to our tourism industry, a fundamentally important source of badly needed foreign exchange for Indonesia's economy — should be reconsidered.
We humbly remind the U.K. Government that courage is the first weapon in the war against those who resort to terror in an attempt to disrupt the very fabric of our lives. The millions of Indonesians who derive their incomes from tourism ask you to courageously take the lead in revising the current travel advisory system that continues to cause untold misery for the victims of terror, long after any actual terrorist attack.
In its stead, together we must create objective international criteria for public safety and security against which all travel destinations can equally be measured. In the absence of specific threats upon which to base a country-specific travel advisories, the world and the British traveler will be much better served by a transparent set of specific security criteria against which safety, security preparedness, and improvements achieved in enhancing the public's security can be objectively measured.
Use the link below to send your comments on Travel Advisories to Mr. Chatterton Dickson.
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