IMPACT – MEDIUM

The U.S. State Department has issued a Europe travel alert, highlighting the possibility of terrorist attacks this fall.

Key points:

  • The State Department said extremist groups are continuing to focus on tourist locations in Europe when planning attacks. The department also urged U.S. citizens to “exercise additional vigilance” in locations such as transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, local government building, hotels, clubs, restaurants, houses of worship, parks, schools, airports and other relatively unprotected “soft targets.”
  • The department further urged U.S. citizens traveling in Europe to check their destination cities’ embassies or consulate websites. The department recommends, among other measures, following the instructions of local authorities, monitoring local media, preparing for additional security screening and staying in touch with family members. The alert expires Nov. 30.

Background: The State Department’s alert follows attacks in Finland, France, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom this year. The department issued a similar alert in May and said Friday that it “remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks.”

BAL Analysis: U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals traveling or residing in Europe should exercise caution throughout the fall. Companies with employees outside the U.S. should (1) register their employees with the appropriate U.S. embassy; (2) establish evacuation plans; (3) develop visitor logs; and (4) have employees carry copies of their passport at all times.

U.S. companies overseas should engage with the Overseas Security Advisory Council and develop an emergency communication system. Employers may additionally wish to encourage their employees to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service that provides updated security information and allows Americans to register their trips abroad with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.