Governments claim to issue travel advisories to give citizens an idea of how safe it is to go to other destinations. Americans have been warned in an upgraded notice for Hong Kong that the city is best avoided “due to serious risks to safety and security”. Reference is made to the Covid-19 pandemic and the recently implemented national security law. But unlike much of the United States, the city has the virus under control, and the vast majority of travellers have no interest in meddling in the affairs of other countries, so guidelines with such a political focus are doing a disservice. The US and some other countries have a record of using travel advisories for political purposes, giving poor assessments to steer citizens away from nations perceived as unfriendly. Hong Kong has been caught up in rivalry between Beijing and Washington and the law has been a further lightning rod in the dispute. Agreements with the special administrative region have been rescinded by US President Donald Trump’s team and the raising of the warning from level two on a scale of four, from “exercise increased caution” to the next highest, “reconsider travel”, is in effect a further sanction. If US citizens follow these guidelines, it will mean less business and tourism for the city. Australia, a US ally, has its highest alert in place for Hong Kong, advising “do not travel” and that citizens who are worried about the national security law should leave. As with the US, the concern is that the legislation is vaguely worded. The warning is based on fears, though; the law has yet to be tested by courts. It is also a moot point given that owing to the coronavirus, Hong Kong denies entry to all non-residents arriving by air except those coming from the mainland, Macau or Taiwan. Misusing travel advisories for political purposes gives a false impression of a destination. Hong Kong, for all its recent troubles, is among the world’s safest cities. When normal travel resumes, Americans, Australians and others need to critically assess the guidelines issued by their governments. Hong Kong has to keep this in mind as it works on a strategy to promote itself overseas.