Saturday, June 15, 2024

Summer travel: Threats of terrorism spark warnings for some European destinations

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Terrorism threats in certain European countries have sparked travel warnings for Canadians this summer.


The government of Canada has travel advisories or warnings in place for several European destinations, as well as other regions.


“There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities,” the Canadian government wrote in its travel advisory online. “Over the past few years in France, several opportunistic and premeditated attacks have occurred. These have resulted in many deaths and injuries. Further attacks are likely.”


Popular destinations with travel warnings about terrorist threats include France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.


With the Olympic Games set to take place in Paris this summer, France is among potential terrorist targets, according to the French and Canadian governments.


Canadians should “exercise a high degree of caution” in France due to the “elevated threat of terrorism,” Canada’s travel advisory read.


France raised its security threat level to “attack emergency,” the highest rating in its national security alert system, on March 24 following a terrorist attack in Moscow that killed 144 people.


“Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places,” the Canadian travel advisory read. “Be particularly alert during public gatherings and demonstrations.”


When travelling in France, Canadians can expect enhanced security measures and an increased police presence at the border and in public places, especially in Paris during the Olympic Games, the advisory states. The Summer Olympic Games runs from July 26 to Aug. 11. The Paralympic Games will be from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8.


The Canadian advisory says to check local media for news and follow the instructions of local authorities.


Italy had a similar advisory as France.


The Italian government has a public alert system on terrorism, according to the Canadian government.


“Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places,” it wrote. “Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.”


Key sites and transport hubs will have “enhanced security measures” and greater numbers of police and military forces will be present during holidays and in public places, including tourist locations and major landmarks.


Possible terrorism targets


For any destination, the Canadian government says that places terrorists may target include: government buildings; schools and universities; places of worship; cultural destinations, such as exhibition galleries, museums, concert halls and theatres; airports, railway stations, and other transportation hubs and networks; and public areas such as tourist attractions, monuments, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites popular with foreigners.


As well, the Canadian government reminds travellers to be prepared. “Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada,” it wrote. “Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.”


While the Canadian government will make every effort to help those who need consular assistance while abroad, there could be constraints, it added.


High rates of crime in Bahamas


In addition, Canadian travellers are advised to exercise a high degree of caution in the Bahamas because of high rates of crime, especially in Freeport and Nassau. The Canadian government said violent incidents typically are related to gangs. Common crimes include armed robberies, burglaries, fraud, sexual assaults and theft.


“Robberies also occur in cruise ship terminals and in and around popular resort areas, even in daylight hours,” the Canadian advisory read. “Crime increases during the holidays.”


The Canadian government advises Canadians to stay in tourist areas, always remain vigilant, avoid walking alone at night, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables. Be wary of drinks potentially being spiked, only go with licensed taxi drivers, and watch for unlicensed Jet Ski operators, it added.

Sexual assault is common near hotels, in hotel rooms, casinos, cruise ships and on the beach, it said. Incidents are rising in Nassau, including Paradise Island.

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