State Department rolls out new global travel alert system

The State Department has a new travel advisory system for ranking countries’ safety levels

Under the new designations Turkey is considered a ‘Level 3’ country. Viacheslav Lopatin Shutterstock

US passports lie on a table in Dallas on May 9, 2017.

"We often got questions from people saying, 'I read your travel warning, but what does that mean, what am I supposed to do?'" Bernier-Toth said during a State Department call early Wednesday.

The Travel Advisories for each country replace previous Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts.

Pakistan has been placed in Level 3 (reconsider travel) by the US State Department which advises its citizen to reconsider travel to the particular reason.

"We needed to make it more accessible to people".

"These improvements will provide US citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide", the State Department said about the travel advisory system that is followed by multiple countries now.

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The goal of the consular messages is to offer timely advice about destinations and activities overseas. Levels Three and Four we review every six months just as we did Travel Warnings.

In September, the agency stated in a travel warning that, "numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks", suffering "significant injuries as a effect of these attacks". Bernier-Toth said USA embassies were given the new rankings ahead of time so they could notify the governments of the impending change.

According to American officials, the travel advisory is "user-friendly" as it is based on the ready-to-understand level of advice ranging from one to four. But travelers might need some time to become familiar with the new format.

Countries on Level 4 are Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, North Korea, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

Placing Pakistan in Level 3 (reconsider travel) category, the State Department has advised U.S. citizens to not travel to Balochistan province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) due to terrorism.

The advisory said in northeastern states, incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups.

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"Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and evidence suggests they continue to do so", says the State Department.

The State Department has not changed its methods for determining the country-specific threats. Embassy workers are ordered not to travel in those regions.

The office also mentioned that the US government was unable to provide any consular services to USA citizens from the Consulate General in Peshawar.

In Mexico, a level 2, the State Department grades each of the nation's 31 states on the same scale.

Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, said his destination on the Pacific Coast had 16% growth in visitors during 2017 and has been growing since 2010, after recovering from a hurricane.

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