Canada issues travel advisories to many unexpected European vacation spots

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Published February 10, 2024 at 11:36 am

If you’re gearing up for a couple of weeks abroad or ready to embark on that Eurotrip you’ve been dreaming of, it might be a good idea to take note of the latest travel advisories from the Canadian government.


United Kingdom

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Random violent incidents in public areas such as knife, vehicle attacks and explosions have resulted in casualties.

Terrorist threats persist across the UK, especially in London, with potential targets including government buildings, places of worship, and transportation hubs.

Public spaces like tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels are also at risk.

Individuals should exercise caution, especially during events like sporting matches, religious holidays, and political gatherings.

The UK government issues terrorism alerts online and through local media.

Additionally, petty crimes like pickpocketing and cellphone theft are common in London’s tourist spots and transportation hubs. Thieves operate alone or in groups often targeting crowded areas.


Netherlands

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Individuals have carried out terrorist attacks in several European cities. Attacks in the Netherlands are possible.

Visitors should be careful when travelling as government buildings, airports, transportation hubs, and other public areas frequented by foreigners could fall victim to a terrorist attack.

The Dutch government issues terrorism alerts online and through local media with the current threat level at 4 out of 5.

Petty crime, like pickpocketing and bag snatching, is also common in major cities especially among tourists. In Amsterdam thieves target restaurants, coffee shops, tourist attractions like the De Wallen District and Central Station.

Public transportation, particularly tram routes 1, 2, and 5 between Central Station and the museum district are also vulnerable to these crimes.


Spain

Risks: Threat of terrorism and water restrictions in Catalonia.

Reasons: Spain has experienced terrorist attacks with further threats possible. Potential targets include government buildings, schools, airports, public areas, and tourist sites. Vigilance is crucial, especially in crowded places frequented by foreigners.

On Feb. 1 (2024) the Catalonia’s government declared a state of emergency and placed water restrictions across 229 municipalities including Barcelona in response to drought conditions. The measures impose daily usage limits and prohibit certain high-use activities.

Additionally, petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, poses a prevalent threat in urban areas during holidays and weekends.

Thieves often use various tactics such as distraction techniques or impersonating law enforcement officers to target unsuspecting individuals.


Germany

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Several European countries have been under terrorist attacks and Germany could potentially be a target.

Pickpocketing is another common crime that occurs in major cities, transportation hubs, and tourist spots. Organized groups use distraction tactics in crowded areas and during events like Christmas markets.

Stolen passports are on the rise, notably on trains during peak holiday seasons. Individuals are advised to keep their belongings including passports secure at all times.


France

Risks: Elevated threat of terrorism.

Reasons: In France there have been numerous opportunistic and planned attacks in recent years, causing significant casualties.

The government has a 3-level public alert system for terrorism. Changes are shared online and through local and national media.

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.

Belgium

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: In Belgium there have been deadly attacks with more possible. Further attacks are also likely across Europe.

Pickpocketing is also a prevalent issue. Criminals target passengers at transportation hubs like the Metro, train stations, and airports.

Petty crimes are common on trains between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Brussels-London routes, as well as at stations like Gare de Bruxelles-Nord, Gare de Bruxelles-Centrale, and Gare de Bruxelles-Midi.


Denmark

Risks: The Danish Security and Intelligence Service rates the risk of a terrorist attack at level 4 (significant) on a 5-step scale. Gang related-crime is also problematic.

Reason: There have been instances of public desecration of the Qur’an since August (2023), leading to threats from violent extremists.

Those travelling to Denmark are asked to follow these tips to stay safe during their trip:

  1. Stay vigilant in public areas, especially during events and demonstrations.
  2. Anticipate heightened security and more police at borders and public spaces.
  3. Keep an eye on local media for updates.
  4. Follow the guidance of local authorities.

Copenhagen may experience instances of gang-related violence, especially in neighbourhoods such as Christiania, Norrebro, Husum, Bronshoj, Bispebjerg, and Amager island. Visitors are urged to remain vigilant and exercise caution when in these areas.


Sweden

Risks: Threat of terrorism.

Reasons: Since early 2023, there’s been a rise in Quran desecrations in Stockholm. On Aug. 17 the Swedish Security Service raised the national terrorist threat level from 3 to 4, indicating a high threat. This decision reflects an assessment of increased danger from violent extremists with ongoing heightened concerns.

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 other circumstances, criminals have used bombs, hand grenades or improvised explosive devices.


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

 

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