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Change in U.K. Travel Warnings Imminent?

Various U.K. Press Reports Say Foreign Office Will Soon Adopt New Approach to Travel Warnings.

Bali News:
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Separate press reports from major U.K. papers in the first two days of April 2004 suggest the U.K. Foreign Office is preparing to review and reduce the number of travel warnings issued against travel abroad.

In an article by Anton La Guardia on April 2, 2004 at [Terrorism Travel Warnings Reduced], said: "The Foreign Office yesterday signalled it would reduce the number of warnings against travel to countries at risk of terrorist attacks, saying the current system risked causing too much political and economic 'collateral damage'."

Quoting U.K. Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, the article indicates that his office is embracing the view that in the future travel warnings will only be issued in the face of specific information of an imminent terrorist attack. According to the Telegraph, Jack Straw said that in issuing travel warnings "we must make sure we do not do the terrorists' job by causing too much of the very disruption which they want."

A separate article in The Scotsman published on April 1, 2004, written by James Lyon, also reported that an easing of travel warnings was now likely following the release of a Whitehall white-paper in support of such a step.

That paper suggested that too many warnings cause the public to ignore real dangers. Therefore it recommended that future warnings be based on specific threats that will be, as a result, potentially more successful in preventing death and injury.

The article - [Fewer Warnings Likely on Terror Threat to Travellers] - quoted the Whitehall Study that stated: "Statistically terrorism overseas represents a relatively small risk to UK travellers. But the nature of terrorism means it is viewed quite differently to other risks."

The same article pointed our that from 316 U.K. travelers who died on non-natural causes while abroad in 2003, only 39 can be attributed to terrorism; 26 of whom died in the Bali Bombing. Of the remaining who perished while on a trip, 158 were killed in traffic accidents and 57 committed suicide.

In January 2004, made a submission to Mr. Robert Chatterton Dickson, the Travel Advice Reviewer at Whitehall in London who prepared the white-paper that precipitated the reported imminent change in policy on travel warning. Our comments to Whitehall are available on the link at the end of this article.

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