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Canada issues travel advisories to these major destination countries | insauga

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If you’re considering a last-minute flight to celebrate the New Year abroad, it might be worth taking note of the latest travel advisories brought forth by the Canadian government.


Costa Rica 

Risks: Frequent petty crime.

Reason: Tourists are common targets for pickpockets and purse-snatchers because they are perceived as being wealthy.

Passport theft is also very common and increases during the peak tourist seasons, from November to May and from July to August.

Thieves usually work in teams, where one thief diverts the victims’ attention while the other snatches their possessions.

Travellers are asked to exercise caution in the following areas due to theft concerns:

The Coca-Cola bus terminal area between

  • El Paso de la Vaca,
  • Calle 12, and the Coca-Cola market;
  • the inner downtown area bordered by the San Juan de Dios Hospital,
  • the National Museum,
  • Avenida 1, and Avenida 14
  • Mercado Central areas
  • public parks in Dominical
  • Jacó, including the crocodile viewing area along the Tárcoles River
  • Manuel Antonio National Park; Quepos
  • the Cóbano area, encompassing Mal País
  • Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and the port of Puntarenas.
  • Cahuita, Puerto Limón, and Puerto Viejo.

There also are areas where drug trafficking, violent crimes and murders occur often. These include:

  • Alajuela
  • Limón
  • Puntarenas
  • San José

Visitors are advised with the following:

  • Keep your belongings, including your passport and travel documents secure at all times.
  • Don’t forget to carry your passport, along with the entry stamp from the Costa Rican immigration point.
  • Refrain from showing off expensive jewelry and try not to carry too much cash or valuables.
  • Stay away from isolated or deserted spots and avoid walking alone at night.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas.
  • Exercise extra caution when using ATMs.

Sweden

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: In 2023, there’s been a rise in incidents desecrating the Qur’an in Stockholm. On August 17, the Swedish Security Service upped the national terrorist threat level from 3 to 4 (high) due to increased risks from violent extremists.

Gang and organized crime-related violence occurs mainly in the three largest cities in Sweden: Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.

Stockholm County has seen an increase in gun violence and homicides linked to gang rivalries.  Some incidents suggest retaliatory killings.  In some circumstances, criminals have used bombs, hand grenades or improvised explosive devices.

Foreigners are advised with the following:

  • Anticipate increased security and more police in public spaces.
  • Stay updated through local media.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities.
  • Always keep your belongings in a safe place, including your passport and other travel documents.

Spain

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Public areas especially at sports events and during holidays and celebrations. Terrorists have targeted such gatherings before.

Additionally, since Nov. 9, protests opposing an amnesty agreement for leaders of the Catalonian independence movement have erupted in Spain, especially in Madrid.

These demonstrations have disrupted services and transportation, leading to vandalism, arson, and violent clashes between protesters and police.

In some instances, tear gas and rubber bullets have been used by security forces.

Petty crime and purse-snatching is common in larger cities and particularly during holidays, festivals and weekends.

Travellers are asked to watch out for solo thieves or groups using sneaky tactics, like asking for directions or pointing out stains on your clothes to distract and snatch your belongings.

Sometimes thieves pose as cops requesting to see your passport, IDs, or wallets. Individuals are advised to politely ask them for their official identification badge to confirm the legitimacy of the request.

Additionally, individuals should be cautious in busy spots like airports, public transport hubs, hotel lobbies, restaurants, outdoor cafes, beaches, and tourist attractions.

In Madrid here is where theft is prevalent:

  • Atocha train station
  • Gran Vía
  • Plaza Cibeles and Paseo del Prado
  • Puerta del Sol area, Plaza Mayor and surrounding streets
  • Retiro park
  • the subway system

In Barcelona here is where theft is prevalent:

  • Barceloneta beach
  • El-Prat airport and on the airport shuttle bus (the Aerobus)
  • Güell park
  • Las Ramblas, including in Internet cafés
  • Passeig de Gràcia
  • Plaça de Catalunya
  • Plaça Reial and surrounding streets of the old city (Ciutat Vella
  • Sagrada Família Basilica
  • Sants train and bus station
  • the subway system

Türkiye

Risks: Exercise high caution due to threat of terrorist attacks and the possibility of demonstrations throughout the country.

Reason: Visitors may see protests related to the ongoing conflict in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Travellers are urged to stay informed and exercise caution in areas where demonstrations may occur.

A regional advisory is in effect for Türkiye due to the damages caused by earthquakes in these areas:

  • Kahramanmaraş
  • Malatya
  • Diyarbakır
  • Kilis
  • Adıyaman
  • Hatay
  • Osmaniye
  • Elazig

Travellers are asked to avoid non-essential travel to southeastern provinces because of an unpredictable security situation. These areas include:

  • Batman
  • Bingöl
  • Bitlis
  • Hakkari
  • Kilis
  • Siirt
  • Șirnak
  • Tunceli

Türkiye faces a persistent terrorism threat from both domestic and international groups, leading to numerous attacks across the country. While the majority of incidents are concentrated in the south and east, major cities such as Istanbul and Ankara have also experienced such attacks.

Areas with potential risk include:

  • Tourist attractions and popular public spaces
  • Nightclubs and entertainment venues
  • Public transportation
  • Airports
  • Crowded places
  • Areas with high pedestrian traffic, especially frequented by foreigners
  • Commercial establishments
  • Local government offices
  • Public transit stations
  • Long queues at tourist attractions
  • Places of worship

France

Risks: Elevated threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Petty crimes like pickpocketing, purse snatching, and mobile phone theft are common in proximity to tourist attractions, with a potential risk of future terrorist attacks including recent bomb threats.

Thieves, often skilled and frequently working in groups, particularly minors, employ various techniques to divert attention and pilfer belongings.

According to the Canadian government, on Oct. 13, the Prime Minister of France elevated the security threat level within the “Vigipirate” plan to “urgence attentat” (“attack emergency”)—the highest level in the Vigipirate plan, a comprehensive set of measures aimed at preparing and safeguarding the population and public spaces. This decision was prompted by an attack at a school in Arras.

The “Operation Sentinelle” allows for the deployment of military brigades in public spaces to patrol and prevent terrorist acts. Heightened security measures are in place across various strategic locations, including:

  • Transport hubs
  • Public areas
  • Tourist locations, particularly in Paris

Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere. Potential targets include:

  • Government buildings and local authorities’ facilities
  • Schools and universities
  • Places of worship
  • Cultural venues like exhibition galleries, museums, concert halls, and theaters
  • Airports, railway stations, and other transportation hubs
  • Public areas such as tourist attractions, monuments, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centers, markets, hotels, and other sites frequently visited by foreigners.

Germany

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Crimes committed by far-right extremists against individuals belonging to ethnic, religious or political minorities happen.

Targets for terrorist attacks could include:

  • Government buildings, including schools.
  • places of worship.
  • Airports and other transportation hubs and networks.
  • Public areas like tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and resorts, and other sites frequented by foreigners.
  • There is also an increase in stolen passports on trains, usually during the summer and winter holiday season.

For more information on countries that are currently not safe to travel to, you can visit the Government of Canada website.


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