Four countries on amber alert in new warning system for travellers
People planning trips to Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey are being urged to monitor these countries after the issuing of an amber alert under a new warning system.
The Security Bureau's Outbound Travel Alert system, which covers 60 countries using amber, red and black to differentiate between various levels of risk, came into effect yesterday.
The system's website said that bomb attacks in Jakarta, terrorist strikes in Pakistan, violent conflicts and protests in Thailand, and a bombing in Istanbul were the reasons for the amber warnings being issued.
No other warnings have been issued. Under a red alert, people are advised to avoid non-essential travel because of a significant threat, and a black alert suggests that travel plans should be cancelled because of a severe threat.
A government spokesman said the amber alert issued for the four countries was to remind travellers to monitor the situation and exercise caution.
The executive director of the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, said he believed the amber alert would have little impact on travel plans or bookings because it was only a reminder for people to monitor the situation in those nations.
Several travel agencies have set new refund guidelines. For example, if a black alert is issued, Hong Thai Travel Services will give customers a full refund after they pay a HK$150 to HK$300 administration fee, but they will not give money back on tours booked if a red alert is issued.
Insurers such as Blue Cross and HSBC Insurance have adjusted policies covering losses incurred under a black alert, but nothing will be paid for any losses incurred in destinations subject to a red alert.
Avoid all travel
Adjust travel plans, avoid non-essential travel
Signs of threat
Monitor situation, exercise caution
Source: Security Bureau