State of emergency in Tunisia extended until 2018

A state of emergency in Tunisia has been extended until at least January 2018.

Plus: Read below on why I feel the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is sending out “conflicting” travel information.  

The extension runs for three months from November 10, according to updated Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice.

Don’t Confuse the State of Emergency with a Travel Ban!

FCO:  “Tunisian authorities have improved security in tourist resorts and their ability to respond to a terrorist incident.”

The FCO relaxed its Travel Warning against Tunisia in June.  The travel warning included Tunis and the beach resort of Sousse.  As a that the relaxation of travel restrictions prompted Thomas Cook to reinstate Tunisia holidays and flights from February 2018.

Reason for the change?  

According to the FCO “The Tunisian authorities have improved security in tourist resorts and their ability to respond to a terrorist incident. Tunisian security forces have also improved and are better prepared to tackle terrorist threats than they were at the time of the 2015 attacks,” the FCO advice says.

Fair engough…but here’s where it gets confusing. 

Every terrorist attack worldwide over the last 20 years

The FCO continues to urge travelers to the country to be vigilant at all times and warns that terrorists are “very likely” to carry out attacks on Tunisia. It also highlights a “heightened risk” of terrorism against aviation.  As a Security Professional I  applaud the FCO’s attempt to remind their citizens about the importance of vigilance.  However the following statement is what I find conflicting:

“But further attacks remain likely, including in places visited by foreigners such as tourist resorts.“Attacks may be carried out by individuals unknown to the authorities, whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups.”

You can’t relax your travel restrictions and emphasize that attacks remain likely in Tunisia.   

A better message…

The bottom line is that attacks remain likely all throughout the world as terrorism remains a worldwide problem. Instead of sending out “conflicting” information here are 3 suggestions.

  1. Frame any information regarding terrorism in the context of the worldwide threat.

  2. Continue to focus more on Security Awareness.

  3. Continue to work with Tunisian authorities and highlighting the progress being made on the ground.

Regardless of the destination, travelers need to continue practice good security awareness.  Additionally, organizations operating in Tunisia should invest in Risk Management solutions so that they remain Proactive and Engaged with the reality on the ground.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. Please make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.  Let us know if you have any questions/comments or concerns.  

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