Q. I have responsibility for travel security in my company and I’m concerned about potentially dangerous places people might be traveling to. Where can I obtain travel destination security intelligence?
A. Travel security destination intelligence is available through a number of sources, all of which have their own individual strengths. Publicly (no fee) available information can be found through a number of government sources. The US Department of State and the US Overseas Advisory Council (qualified membership required for complete access) provide a wide variety of information to included specific country travel alerts, travel warnings and general information regarding such items as: entry and exit requirements, local customs, climate, transportation and medical advisories. In addition, they provide an abundance of general travel security tips. The US Embassies are valuable sources of information providing up-to-date intelligence concerning current affairs, upcoming events and local emergency information.
For a boarder perspective consider other country (non US) government sources of information offering different perspectives and experiences. These sources present similar types of intelligence to their citizens and on occasion issue different risk ratings and general conclusions. Examples include: Australia – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canada – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the UK – Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Don’t forget public news services as a vehicle to information about local happenings (weather, civil unrest, holidays) and the political climate.
Peer information can be a reliable source of “on the ground” intelligence. Business associates, industry peers, professional associations can all provide additional insight.
Fee based services can be another source of destination intelligence with some offering “one stop” travel security shopping. Through strategic alliances these fee based services are often provided by your company’s business travel service provider at discounted rates or as part of the contracted travel agreement. Additionally, a simple Internet search (travel intelligence, travel security) will point you in the direction of numerous fee based services; many of which can be customized to meet your individual or company needs, offering varying levels of services at a variety of prices.
Destination Intelligence is only one part of a travel security and safety program. Policies, training, expert services, due diligence, communications, traveler profiles and emergency plans are a few of the more important components of a successful travel security/safety program.
Answer provided by Kenneth Kasten, Security Executive Council Emeritus Faculty.