Last week's attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis,Tunisa, left more than twenty foreign tourists dead in an attack claimed by Islamic State militants as "the first drop of the rain." What does this mean for tourism, in this region and beyond? Certainly a decrease in travel to countries in this area.
In addition to heeding warnings from the State Department and relying on the expertise of contacts in regions your travel clients are interested in visiting, there are a variety of tips you can pass along to your clients to lessen their chances of being a target in any location, and help them navigate dangerous situations that are, unfortunately, impossible to guard against completely, no matter their destination:
- Wear clothing that doesn't stand out. Dress for invisibility. Definitely leave home items of apparel that flaunt your nationality, or indicate that you are a Westerner (jeans, baseball caps, Nikes, et cetera).
- At airports and other places tourists might frequent, be on the lookout for unattended bags or packages, and report them to authorities immediately.
- Minimize the amount of time you spend in public areas of airports, train stations, and other areas where people are not required to pass through security in order to be present.
- Stay away from political protests. While North Americans are accustomed to a certain level of freedom of speech, one should not assume that they will be afforded that right in other countries, especially as a foreigner.
- When traveling by taxicab in crowded streets, keep car windows rolled shut so that no one can throw anything into the vehicle.
- Take note of surroundings, and point out safety points, like police stations and the embassy, which could also serve as potential meeting spots in case of an emergency.
- Carry important contact information, such as your embassy's phone number, on paper, in case of problems retrieving information from digital devices.