Travel Safety South America
Latin America presents an interesting challenge to both the business and tourist traveler; Should rising crime statistics, troubled infrastructure and strained institutions be reason to cancel plans or chose alternate destinations? For some perhaps – but much of risk can be avoided and managed by smart planning and a sensible considered approach to the conduct of travel in Latin America.
Avoiding Crime in Rio de Janeiro
Currently in the media spotlight is on the host city of the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro. Crime rates in Rio remain consistently high with opportunist crime against tourists prevalent. The city is a place of “have and have nots” with the wealth disparity particularly clear when one sees the shanty slums or Favelas occupying parts of the city just blocks from affluent suburbs, financial centers and the venues hosting the games. For the unaware tourist the risk is of finding themselves in these trouble spots by simply taking a wrong turn. Violent criminals target tourist locations, credit card fraud is endemic, and now increasing levels of cybercrime in Brazil all present warning signs to any prospective visitor. Yet many foreign travelers and local residents are able to enjoy an incident free existence in the cities of Brazil. The key is in recognizing that much of the crime and incidents can be avoided with sensible precautions.
Safe Business Travel in Latin America
The smart modern traveler must research in detail, prepare for the trip, and take steps to manage risks. Those unfamiliar with any city should seek local knowledge. Trusted local sources and providers are an excellent resource and can help toward safe and incident free travel. Most importantly, consider the use of secure transportation. Consider the very real risks of express kidnap, carjackings, fraud and even difficulties of a vehicle breaking down or becoming involved in road traffic accident in an unsafe area.
Avoiding Express Kidnap
If on a business trip not allocating enough time for a journey forcing oneself to attempt a short cut through a high risk area or jumping into an unlicensed taxi just to get to the meeting on-time. All of these planning considerations if not addressed will increase risk. In any part of the world traveling by road is the most hazardous activity for any traveler. The exposure to risk is increased with any movement to and from a vehicle. This is a potential area of opportunity for targeting by organized criminals or an opportunist attack. Areas where travelers congregate or commence transit are prime examples – greeting areas outside of airports, train stations, business districts and tourist attractions pose potential threats. Pre-planning of arrival and departure procedures can mitigate this as well as careful consideration of actions to take when moving to and from a parked vehicle.
Travel Safety in Mexico
Therefore it must be a priority – especially in those countries where other risks and hazards are prevalent to plan in advance and in detail. The tragic murder in Mexico of two Australian surfers by reported members of the Sinola Cartel in November last year whilst they were driving through Sinola to Guadalajara highlights the dangers tourists can face. The van they were traveling in was apparently flagged down by gang members posing as police and the two Australian tourists were murdered after attempting to resist the robbery.
Drug trafficking, gang wars, political instability, corruption and poverty are to blame for the high homicide rates across Latin America, which has just 8 per cent of the world’s population, according to UN statistics. In Mexico the New Generation Jalisco Cartel (CJNG) -- were responsible for a disproportionate total of the murders. Yet Mexico remains an important center for business and popular destination for large numbers of tourists. As with travel to Mexico’s southern regional neighbors the challenge for visitors is to understand these threats and to keep clear of them. Government travel advisories and updates go some way to building a picture of the places to avoid and behaviors to adopt but will not always apply to a travel plan or business itinerary which requires travel to certain areas. In these instances it is the layered approach to careful planning, sensible procedures and control measures which will facilitate a safe journey.
Travel Safety Training
Given that the majority of vacations and business trips to the region still take place without incident it should not be necessary to advise against all travel. The alarming up trend in incidents of violent crime, however, should necessitate a much more considered approach to how we travel. Plan, prepare and even train (using travel safety courses) prior to departure; then carefully consider the use of resources (such as vetted local providers and secure transportation services) and procedures to best stay informed and ultimately out of harm’s way. In an increasingly complex world the opportunity to travel should still be seized upon and embraced – but in regions such as Latin America we need to be smarter when we travel and better prepared before we go.
Travel Safety Solutions
ETS provides a range of personal and corporate travel safety solutions. We offer clients control over their operational environment and instill the confidence that specific processes, procedures and contingencies are in place. We pride ourselves on a flexible and tailor-made approach to our private and corporate security service and solutions. Our range of experience ensures that clients receive the very best fit of personnel tailored to requirement. Learn more about ETS Global Risk Management
Explore Secure – Travel Safety Training
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