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Tourism security is an important part of both security management and tourism. Private security professionals and police departments in tourism cities, as well as hotels, major attractions, and theme parks, have all come to realize that tourism security and safety issues (often called tourism surety) are essential for industry survival and success. In Tourism Security, leading expert Peter Tarlow addresses a range of key issues in tourism safety and security. The book guides the reader through a study of tourism security themes and best practices. Topics include the relationship between tourism security and the economy, hotel and motel security, risk and crisis management, public places, transportation, and legal issues. The book also includes case studies of four popular tourist destinations. With each destination, an interview with a police or security representative is included—providing unique, in-depth insight to security concerns. Tourism Security is an invaluable resource for private security professionals, police departments that serve tourist destinations, and tourism professionals who work in hotels or convention centers, or at attractions, casinos, or events.

  • Explains what tourism security is and outlines safety procedures for different tourism environments
  • Serves as a resource tool and how-to for implementing best practices
  • Includes detailed case studies of four popular tourist destinations: Charleston, South Carolina, the Dominican Republic, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Security

There is an increased, global risk of terrorism. No country is immune from a terrorist attack, and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists have little regard for civilian casualties and in many cases, attacks are designed to maximise casualties.

Although New Zealand travellers may not be targeted deliberately, they are usually indistinguishable from any “Western” tourist and frequent places where other Western tourists are found. This puts New Zealanders at the same risk as others.

Wherever you are, you should keep yourself informed about the latest alerts and stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, monuments, demonstrations and on any public transport.

Kidnappings and bombings have been the hallmark of several groups operating in the southern Philippines such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf Group. In Indonesia members of the Jemaah Islamiyah (which allegedly has links to Al Qaeda) have been charged with responsibility for the Bali Bombings in 2002 and 2005. There is a risk of kidnapping of foreigners travelling to the islands and coastal areas in Eastern Sabah (from Kudat in the north around eastwards to Tawau) by the Abu Sayyaf Group operating out of the Philippines.

Other countries in Southeast Asia, particularly those with Islamic populations, have terrorism concerns. Accordingly, there is now a region-wide warning out about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia.

In many Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Viet Nam, the penalties for drug offences (possession or trafficking) are severe and can include the death penalty. The possession of even small quantities of drugs for recreational purposes can result in lengthy jail sentences and deportation. While “party pills” may be legal in New Zealand, travellers should not take them on holiday overseas as they are classed as prohibited substances/drugs in many countries.

Do not travel

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise against all travel.

Myanmar

Do not travel to the northern Rakhine State areas of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung and Paletwa township in southern Chin State due to ethnic tensions and the potential for armed conflict and violent civil unrest.

Philippines

Do not travel to central and western Mindanao (including the Sulu Archipelago) due to the very high threat of terrorist activity, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.

Thailand

Do not travel to the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla due to ongoing politically-motivated and criminal violence, which occurs on an almost daily basis. The Thai Government has warned tourists not to travel to these areas.

Avoid non-essential travel

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

Indonesia

Avoid non-essential travel to Papua and West Papua provinces due to civil unrest and the risk of kidnapping.

Laos

Avoid non-essential travel to Xaisomboun Province due to the potential of violent incidents, and the Attapeu Province where recovery efforts are ongoing since recent flooding of the hydroelectric dam. Travel to certain parts of the Xaisomboun Province requires a permit from Lao authorities. There has been a number of violent incidents in the Xaisomboun Province in recent years, including shooting attacks and the detonation of improvised explosive devices. These have resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, including of civilians.

Malaysia

Avoid non-essential travel to coastal areas of eastern Sabah (from Kudat to Tawau, including Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna, including the offshore islands and dive sites) due to the risk of kidnapping.

Myanmar

Avoid non-essential travel along the borders with Laos, Thailand, India, Bangladesh and China and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel in the vicinity of these borders, including official border crossings. Military activity, ethnic militias, armed drug smugglers and the presence of landmines pose a particularly high risk to your safety.

Avoid non-essential travel to Kachin State (excluding Myitkyina), northern Shan State and along Highway 3 from Pyin Oo Lwin to Shan State due to ethnic tensions and armed conflict and the potential for violent civil unrest. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas. 

Philippines

Avoid non-essential travel to the remaining provinces of Mindanao due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.

Exercise increased caution

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise caution.

Indonesia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Indonesia, including in Jakarta, Surabaya, Sulawesi and on Bali, due to the ongoing threat of terrorism.

Malaysia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Malaysia due to the threat of terrorism, crime and the potential for civil unrest. 

Myanmar

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Myanmar, including in the Mandalay region due to the readily changeable political situation and regular civil unrest.

Philippines

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat of terrorism, risk of kidnapping and violent crime.

Sri Lanka

 Exercise increased caution in Sri Lanka due to the on-going threat of terrorism and violence. 

Thailand

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Thailand due to the potential for civil unrest and threat of terrorism.

Timor-Leste

Exercise increased caution in Timor-Leste due to violent crime and isolated incidents of civil unrest.

Exercise normal safety and security precautions

Destinations in South East Asia where we advise normal.

Brunei Darussalam

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Brunei Darussalam

Cambodia

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Cambodia due to violent crime.

Laos

Exercise normal safety and security precautions elsewhere in Laos.

Singapore

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Singapore due to the underlying threat of terrorism.

Viet Nam

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Viet Nam.

Security

There is an increased global risk of terrorism. No country is immune from a terrorist attack, and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists have little regard for civilian casualties and, in many cases, attacks are designed to maximise casualties.

Although New Zealand travellers are unlikely to be targeted deliberately, they are usually indistinguishable from any “Western” tourist, and frequent places where other Western tourists are found. This puts New Zealanders at the same risk as others.

Wherever you are, you should keep yourself informed about the latest alerts and stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, tourist sites, monuments, demonstrations and on any public transport.

Terrorist attacks have taken place in many major European cities and the region remains vulnerable to attacks from Islamic and other extremist groups.

In Russia, Moscow has experienced a number of bombings carried out by Chechen separatists. They have been responsible for a series of incidents in towns in southern Russia (the northern Caucasus) and particularly the province of Chechnya itself.

In Turkey, Kurdish separatists have carried out attacks in Istanbul and other areas popular with tourists. Such attacks are likely to continue.

Do not travel

Destinations in Europe where we advise against all travel.

Russian Federation

Do not travel to Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia, Republic of North Ossetia and the south-east parts of Stavropol Krai in the North Caucasian Federal District. Terrorism, kidnapping and military activity in these areas presents a significant risk to security.

Do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts due to ongoing violent conflict and the volatile security situation.

Turkey

Do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and the potential for violence associated with the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Do not travel to the city of Diyarbakir in south-east Turkey due to the risk of terrorism, civil unrest and the unpredictable security situation.  

Ukraine

Do not travel to Crimea due to the uncertain security situation. 

Do not travel to Donetsk and Luhansk regions due to ongoing violent conflict and the volatile security situation. 

New Zealanders currently in Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. The New Zealand Government is severely limited in its ability to provide consular assistance to New Zealand citizens in these areas.

Avoid non-essential travel

Destinations in Europe where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

Kosovo

Avoid non-essential travel to North Mitrovica and the northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan due to politically-motivated violence and civil unrest.

Turkey

Avoid non-essential travel to the provinces of Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Siirt, and Tunceli in south-east Turkey due to the unpredictable security situation and the threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Exercise increased caution

Destinations in Europe where we advise caution.

Albania

Exercise increased caution in Albania due to the threat of terrorism.

Belgium

Exercise increased caution in Belgium due to the heightened and ongoing threat of terrorism. 

Denmark

Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to the threat of terrorism.

France

Exercise increased caution in France due to the ongoing threat of terrorism.

Germany

Exercise increased caution in Germany due to the ongoing threat of terrorism. 

Greece

Exercise increased caution in Greece due to the potential for civil unrest and an underlying threat of terrorism.

Italy

Exercise increased caution in Italy due to the threat of terrorism.

Kosovo

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Kosovo due to the potential for civil unrest.

Moldova

Exercise increased caution in the Transnistria region (northeast Moldova) due to the uncertain security situation.

The New Zealand Government is limited in its ability to provide consular assistance to New Zealand citizens in Moldova, particularly in the Transnistria region.

Norway

Exercise increased caution in Norway due to the threat of terrorism.

Russian Federation

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Russia due to the threat of terrorism and crime. 

Spain

Exercise increased caution in Spain due to the ongoing threat of terrorism. 

Sweden

Exercise increased caution in Sweden due to the threat of terrorism.

The Netherlands

Exercise increased caution in the Netherlands due to the threat of terrorism.

Turkey

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Turkey, including in Ankara and Istanbul, due to the heightened threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest.

Ukraine

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Ukraine, including Kyiv, due to the unpredictable security situation and potential for civil unrest.

United Kingdom

Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to the threat of terrorism and crime.

Exercise normal safety and security precautions

Destinations in Europe where we advise normal.

Austria

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Austria.

Cyprus

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Cyprus.

Finland

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Finland.

Ireland

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Ireland.

Luxembourg

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Luxembourg.

Moldova

Elsewhere exercise normal safety and security precautions elsewhere in Moldova.

Poland

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Poland.

Serbia

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Serbia.

Slovak Republic

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in the Slovak Republic.

Switzerland

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Switzerland.

  • Reviewed: 15 November 2013, 15:27 NZDT
  • Still current at: 13 October 2019

Security

There is an increased global risk of terrorism. No country is immune from a terrorist attack, and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists have little regard for civilian casualties and, in many cases, attacks are designed to maximise casualties.

Although New Zealand travellers are unlikely to be targeted deliberately, they are usually indistinguishable from any “Western” tourist, and frequent places where other Western tourists are found. This puts New Zealanders at the same risk as others.

Wherever you are, you should keep yourself informed about the latest alerts and stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, monuments, demonstrations and on any public transport.

Morocco , Algeria, Tunisia and Libya have all suffered from terrorism domestically oriented as a result of civil conflict or directed against foreigners by radical Islamic elements.

Civil conflicts and disorder in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, continue to provide fertile ground for terrorist groups to operate in.

Crime is a major problem throughout Africa and the various police forces are often limited in their response capabilities.

Do not travel

Destinations in Africa where we advise against all travel.

Algeria

Do not travel within 50 kilometres of the border regions with Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia due to a heightened threat from terrorism and kidnapping.

Burkina Faso

Do not travel to the areas north of the town of Boulsa due to the threat of kidnapping, terrorism and armed banditry. 

Do not travel within 40 kilometres of the border with Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, and in W National Park due to the threat of kidnapping, terrorism and armed banditry

Burundi

Do not travel to Burundi due to the unpredictable security situation, potential for violent civil unrest, threat of terrorism and violent crime.

New Zealanders currently in Burundi are advised to depart by commercial means as soon as it is safe to do so. International airports and land borders could be subject to closure with little warning.

Cameroon

Do not travel to the Northwest and Southwest regions due to ongoing conflict and the volatile security situation.

Do not travel to the Far North region due to the threat from terrorism, kidnapping and armed banditry.

Do not travel to the Bakassi Peninsula region and within 40 kilometres of the borders with the Central African Republic, Chad and Nigeria’s Adamawa state. Armed bandits are known to operate in these areas and there is the potential for crossborder attacks and kidnappings.

Central African Republic

Do not travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to the unstable security situation, activities of armed rebel groups and the high level of violent crime.

New Zealanders currently in CAR are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so.

New Zealanders who remain in CAR against our advice should avoid any unnecessary travel, keep a low profile, maintain a high degree of personal security awareness and take all possible security precautions to protect their safety. We recommend ensuring you have adequate stocks of essential supplies on hand, and monitor media reports and local information sources closely to keep up to date on the security situation. 

Chad

Do not travel within 30 kilometres of all international borders and in the Borkou, Ennedi, Kanem, Lac, Ouaddaï, Sila, Tibesti and Wadi Fira regions due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping, the presence of armed militants and the unpredictable security situation.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Do not travel to eastern and north-eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including the provinces of Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Maniema, Tanganyika, North and South Kivu and within 50 kilometres of the border with the Central African Republic. This is due to the unstable security situation, ongoing armed conflict and violent crime.

Djibouti

Do not travel to the border area with Eritrea, as a long-running border dispute has caused tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea. The security situation remains fragile and further conflict is a possibility.

Egypt

Do not travel to the North Sinai, including the Suez-Taba road, due to crime and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces.

Do not travel within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya due to the risk of terrorism and ongoing military operations.

Eritrea

Do not travel within 25 kilometres of the border areas with Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti, including the town of Teseney and areas north and west of Barentu, Ak’ordat and Nakh’fa due to ongoing tensions in Eritrea’s relations with these countries, the presence of landmines and the risk of violence, including armed banditry.

Ethiopia

Do not travel within 10 kilometers of Ethiopia’s borders with Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea, with the exception of Highway 80 and the Moyale border crossing along the Kenyan border.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy’s peace overtures to Eritrea from June 2018 have resulted in the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea being reopened, although it remains a militarised zone pending withdrawal of forces.

Do not travel to most parts of the Somali region, specifically the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones and within 100 kilometres of the border with Somalia in the Afder and Liben zones.

Do not travel to certain parts of the Gambella region (the districts of Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare in the Nuer zone and Jore district in the Agnuak zone).

Kenya

Do not travel to areas bordering Somalia due to the significant threat of terrorism, kidnapping and cross-border attacks. This includes Garissa county, Mandera county and with Somalia, including Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island. 

Do not travel to the border areas with Ethiopia and South Sudan, with the exception of the A2 Highway and Moyale border crossing. Cross-border kidnapping and armed banditry make these border areas extremely unsafe.

Libya

Do not travel to Libya due to ongoing conflict and the threat of terrorism and kidnapping. New Zealanders currently in Libya are strongly advised to depart immediately.

As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Libya, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. The British Embassy, which previously provided emergency assistance to New Zealanders in Libya, has closed due to the security situation. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Libya should consider.

Madagascar

Do not travel to Batterie Beach, north of Tuléar, due to violent crime.

Mali

Do not travel to Mali due to the unpredictable security situation, the threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping and armed banditry.

Mauritania

Do not travel to the eastern and northern regions of Mauritania, or to Mauritania’s border areas with Algeria, Mali and Western Sahara due to the risk of military activities, the actions of extremist groups, and the risk of armed banditry and kidnapping. Anyone entering the border area could be considered a legitimate military target. Land mines are also present along the border with Western Sahara.

Do not travel to the provinces of Tiris Zemmour, Adrar, Tagant, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Assaba, and Guidimaka.

Morocco

Do not travel to Western Sahara (a disputed and non-self-governing territory largely under Moroccan control), within 30 kilometres north and west of the Berm and all areas south and east of the Berm due to the threat posed by unexploded landmines.

Niger

Do not travel outside the capital Niamey due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping, the presence of armed militants and the unpredictable security situation.

Nigeria

Do not travel to the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe. There is an ongoing significant threat from terrorism and a very high threat of kidnapping in these areas.  If you are in one of these areas you should consider departing as soon as it is safe to do so.

Do not travel the delta states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Rivers (including Port Harcourt and Bonny Island) and the river areas of Cross River state in the south east of the country. The significant risk of kidnapping, armed attacks against foreign oil companies and expatriate workers, localised conflict and violent civil unrest present an extreme risk to safety in these areas. If you are in one of these areas you should consider departing as soon as it is safe to do so.

Somalia

Do not travel to Somalia, including Somaliland. New Zealanders currently in Somalia are advised to leave. There is a significant threat from terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict and a high level of violent crime throughout the country.

New Zealanders who decide to travel to Somalia against our advice should ensure that appropriate personal security protection measures are in place at all times. We strongly recommend you consult a reputable security company with experience in Somalia for advice on security arrangements. Security arrangements should be reviewed on a regular basis. Such measures may mitigate the risks to your safety but cannot eliminate them entirely. No part of Somalia can be considered safe. This includes large cities such as Mogadishu and Kismayo.

South Sudan

Do not travel to South Sudan due to ongoing armed conflict, civil unrest and violent crime. 

New Zealanders currently in South Sudan are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Sudan

Do not travel to the Darfur region, the Red Sea state border with Eritrea, the Abyei region, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, areas of Northern Kordofan and White Nile states south of the Kosti-El Obeid-En Nahud road, or within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya, due to the threat of armed conflict and terrorism and the high level of violent crime, including kidnapping. 

The Republic of the Congo

Do not travel to Likouala department within 50 kilometres of the border with the Central African Republic due to the uncertain security situation, high levels of crime and the large presence of displaced people.

Tunisia

Do not travel to the Chaambi Mountains National Park, including the town of Kasserine, near the border with Algeria due to ongoing armed conflict between Tunisian security forces and militant groups.

Do not travel within 30 kilometres of the border with Algeria, in the military zone south of the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba, and within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya, including the town of Ben Guerdane, due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and the presence of armed groups.

Avoid non-essential travel

Destinations in Africa where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

Algeria

Avoid non-essential travel to the mountainous region of Kabylie and  the wilayas (provinces) of Annaba, Béchar, Biskra, El Bayadh, El Taref, Jijel, Khenchela, Laghouat, Skikda, Souk Ahras due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.

Angola

Avoid non-essential travel in the provinces of Cabinda, North Lunda and South Lunda due to violent crime, banditry and kidnapping.

Burkina Faso

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Burkina Faso due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry and the potential for civil unrest.

Cameroon

Avoid non-essential travel in the North and Adamaoua regions due to the threat from terrorism and kidnapping and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

Chad

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Chad, including in the capital N’Djamena due to the threat of terrorism, the potential for violent civil unrest and violent crime.

Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast

Avoid non-essential travel within 20km of the border with Liberia due to the presence of armed groups and the potential for cross-border attacks.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Avoid non-essential travel to your security elsewhere in the DRC due to the potential for civil unrest and violent crime.

Egypt

Avoid non-essential travel to South Sinai due to the risk of terrorism and ongoing military operations. This does not include the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq, where we advise exercising increased caution as below.

Avoid non-essential travel to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, including the Western Desert. This does not include the coastal resort areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh, or the tourist areas along the Nile River, where we advise exercising increased caution as below.

Eritrea

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Eritrea due to the unpredictable security situation which has the potential to deteriorate with little warning should tensions between Eritrea and neighbouring countries escalate.

Ethiopia

Avoid non-essential travel to the Danakil desert area (east of the Dessie-Adigrat road and north of the Dessie-Djibouti road). 

There is a significant threat to your security in these areas due to cross border tensions, the activities of armed militant groups, the risk of kidnapping and armed banditry, and the presence of landmines. 

Guinea

Avoid non-essential travel to the border regions with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire due to cross-border military and rebel activity and the threat of banditry.

Guinea-Bissau

Avoid non-essential travel to the northwest part of the country that borders the Casamance region in Senegal due to the presence of armed rebel groups.

Kenya

Avoid non-essential travel along the A2 Highway north of Turbi and the Moyale border crossing due to sporadic civil unrest.

Avoid non-essential travel to Lamu county, coastal areas of Tana River and Kilifi counties north of Malindi due to the threat from terrorism and violent crime.

Avoid non-essential travel to the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi due to the threat from terrorism and violent crime.

Liberia

Avoid non-essential travel to Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties, on the border with Cote D’Ivoire, due to the presence of armed groups and the possibility of cross-border attacks.

Mauritania

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Mauritania, including the Nouakchott to Nouadhibou corridor, due to the threat of kidnapping, terrorism and the unpredictable security situation.

Mozambique

Avoid non-essential travel to Cabo Delgado province due to ongoing violent clashes.

Niger

Avoid non-essential travel to Niamey due to the threat of kidnapping, violent crime and civil unrest.

Nigeria

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Nigeria (except the cities of Calabar, Abuja and Lagos), due to the threat from terrorism, kidnapping and violent crime.

Rwanda

Avoid non-essential travel to Rwanda’s borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi due to the unpredictable security situation, and the risk of banditry and cross-border incursions by armed groups.

Senegal

Avoid non-essential travel to the Casamance region, except for Cap Skirring, Zinguinchor and the main road connecting these two cities due to armed banditry and clashes between separatist groups and the Senegalese army.

Sudan

Avoid non-essential travel to Sudan due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, violent crime, and the potential for violent civil unrest.  

New Zealanders in Sudan should ensure they have appropriate security measures in place including a contingency plan for departure should a sudden deterioration in the security situation occur. New Zealanders in the capital Khartoum should exercise caution if travelling around the city and avoid travel at night. Travel outside Khartoum requires a permit from local authorities. If you intend travelling outside the capital, you should ensure appropriate personal security protection measures are in place and keep a low profile. 

The Republic of the Congo

Avoid non-essential travel to the Pool department due to the threat of armed banditry and rebel activity.

Tunisia

Avoid non-essential travel to the south of and including the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine and Zarzis due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Zambia

Avoid all non-essential travel to the border areas with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Mozambique due to the presence of landmines. The local authorities can provide advice on affected areas.

Exercise increased caution

Destinations in Africa where we advise caution.

Algeria

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Algeria, due to the potential for civil unrest and the threat of terrorism. 

Angola

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Angola due to violent crime.

Cameroon

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Cameroon due to violent crime, carjackings and piracy (in coastal areas).

Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire due to terrorism, violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Djibouti

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Djibouti due to the threat from terrorism.

Egypt

Exercise increased caution in the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq, due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest, crime and the threat of terrorism.

Exercise increased caution in the coastal resort areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh, and the tourist areas along the Nile River, due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest, crime and the threat of terrorism.

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Egypt due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest, crime and threat of terrorism.

Ethiopia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa, due to violent crime, the threat of terrorism and the unpredictable security situation.

Ghana

 Exercise increased caution around Bawku, Brong Ahafo, Cheriponi, Tamale municipality, Yendi district and the area around Bimbilla due to the potential for violent conflict.

Guinea

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Guinea due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Guinea-Bissau

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Guinea-Bissau due to political instability.

Kenya

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Kenya due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime.

Liberia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Liberia due to the unpredictable security situation and violent crime.

Madagascar

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Madagascar due to the uncertain political situation and violent crime.

Morocco

Exercise increased caution in Morocco and elsewhere in Western Sahara due to the threat of terrorism.

Mozambique

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Mozambique due to violent crime and civil unrest.  

Nigeria

Exercise increased caution in the cities of Calabar, Abuja and Lagos due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime.

Rwanda

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Rwanda due to crime.

Senegal

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Senegal due to terrorism and crime.

Sierra Leone

Exercise increased caution in Sierra Leone due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

South Africa

Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to violent crime.

Tanzania

Exercise increased caution in Tanzania due to violent crime, the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest.

The Gambia

Exercise increased caution in The Gambia due to the the potential for civil unrest.

The Republic of the Congo

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in the Republic of the Congo due to violent crime and ongoing insecurity in some neighbouring countries.

Tunisia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Tunisia due to the threat of terrorism and civil unrest.

Uganda

Exercise increased caution in the Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda due to the threat of banditry, violent crime and armed clashes.

Exercise increased caution within 30 kilometres of the border with South Sudan due to the threat of banditry and other violent crime.

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Uganda due to the threat of terrorism, crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Zambia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Zambia due to violent crime.

Zimbabwe

Exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to underlying political tension and high levels of crime.

Exercise normal safety and security precautions

Destinations in Africa where we advise normal.

Ghana

Exercise normal safety and security precautions elsewhere in Ghana.

  • Reviewed: 15 November 2013, 15:27 NZDT
  • Still current at: 13 October 2019

Security

There is an increased global risk of terrorism. No country is immune from a terrorist attack, and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists have little regard for civilian casualties and, in many cases, attacks are designed to maximise casualties.

Although New Zealand travellers are unlikely to be targeted deliberately, they are usually indistinguishable from any “Western” tourist, and frequent places where other Western tourists are found. This puts New Zealanders at the same risk as others.

Wherever you are, you should keep yourself informed about the latest alerts and stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, monuments, demonstrations and on any public transport.

Morocco , Algeria, Tunisia and Libya have all suffered from terrorism domestically oriented as a result of civil conflict or directed against foreigners by radical Islamic elements.

Civil conflicts and disorder in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, continue to provide fertile ground for terrorist groups to operate in.

Crime is a major problem throughout Africa and the various police forces are often limited in their response capabilities.

Do not travel

Destinations in Africa where we advise against all travel.

Algeria

Do not travel within 50 kilometres of the border regions with Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia due to a heightened threat from terrorism and kidnapping.

Burkina Faso

Do not travel to the areas north of the town of Boulsa due to the threat of kidnapping, terrorism and armed banditry. 

Do not travel within 40 kilometres of the border with Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, and in W National Park due to the threat of kidnapping, terrorism and armed banditry

Burundi

Do not travel to Burundi due to the unpredictable security situation, potential for violent civil unrest, threat of terrorism and violent crime.

New Zealanders currently in Burundi are advised to depart by commercial means as soon as it is safe to do so. International airports and land borders could be subject to closure with little warning.

Cameroon

Do not travel to the Northwest and Southwest regions due to ongoing conflict and the volatile security situation.

Do not travel to the Far North region due to the threat from terrorism, kidnapping and armed banditry.

Do not travel to the Bakassi Peninsula region and within 40 kilometres of the borders with the Central African Republic, Chad and Nigeria’s Adamawa state. Armed bandits are known to operate in these areas and there is the potential for crossborder attacks and kidnappings.

Central African Republic

Do not travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to the unstable security situation, activities of armed rebel groups and the high level of violent crime.

New Zealanders currently in CAR are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so.

New Zealanders who remain in CAR against our advice should avoid any unnecessary travel, keep a low profile, maintain a high degree of personal security awareness and take all possible security precautions to protect their safety. We recommend ensuring you have adequate stocks of essential supplies on hand, and monitor media reports and local information sources closely to keep up to date on the security situation. 

Chad

Do not travel within 30 kilometres of all international borders and in the Borkou, Ennedi, Kanem, Lac, Ouaddaï, Sila, Tibesti and Wadi Fira regions due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping, the presence of armed militants and the unpredictable security situation.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Do not travel to eastern and north-eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including the provinces of Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Maniema, Tanganyika, North and South Kivu and within 50 kilometres of the border with the Central African Republic. This is due to the unstable security situation, ongoing armed conflict and violent crime.

Djibouti

Do not travel to the border area with Eritrea, as a long-running border dispute has caused tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea. The security situation remains fragile and further conflict is a possibility.

Egypt

Do not travel to the North Sinai, including the Suez-Taba road, due to crime and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces.

Do not travel within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya due to the risk of terrorism and ongoing military operations.

Eritrea

Do not travel within 25 kilometres of the border areas with Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti, including the town of Teseney and areas north and west of Barentu, Ak’ordat and Nakh’fa due to ongoing tensions in Eritrea’s relations with these countries, the presence of landmines and the risk of violence, including armed banditry.

Ethiopia

Do not travel within 10 kilometers of Ethiopia’s borders with Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea, with the exception of Highway 80 and the Moyale border crossing along the Kenyan border.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy’s peace overtures to Eritrea from June 2018 have resulted in the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea being reopened, although it remains a militarised zone pending withdrawal of forces.

Do not travel to most parts of the Somali region, specifically the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones and within 100 kilometres of the border with Somalia in the Afder and Liben zones.

Do not travel to certain parts of the Gambella region (the districts of Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare in the Nuer zone and Jore district in the Agnuak zone).

Kenya

Do not travel to areas bordering Somalia due to the significant threat of terrorism, kidnapping and cross-border attacks. This includes Garissa county, Mandera county and with Somalia, including Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island. 

Do not travel to the border areas with Ethiopia and South Sudan, with the exception of the A2 Highway and Moyale border crossing. Cross-border kidnapping and armed banditry make these border areas extremely unsafe.

Libya

Do not travel to Libya due to ongoing conflict and the threat of terrorism and kidnapping. New Zealanders currently in Libya are strongly advised to depart immediately.

As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Libya, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. The British Embassy, which previously provided emergency assistance to New Zealanders in Libya, has closed due to the security situation. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Libya should consider.

Madagascar

Do not travel to Batterie Beach, north of Tuléar, due to violent crime.

Mali

Do not travel to Mali due to the unpredictable security situation, the threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping and armed banditry.

Mauritania

Do not travel to the eastern and northern regions of Mauritania, or to Mauritania’s border areas with Algeria, Mali and Western Sahara due to the risk of military activities, the actions of extremist groups, and the risk of armed banditry and kidnapping. Anyone entering the border area could be considered a legitimate military target. Land mines are also present along the border with Western Sahara.

Do not travel to the provinces of Tiris Zemmour, Adrar, Tagant, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Assaba, and Guidimaka.

Morocco

Do not travel to Western Sahara (a disputed and non-self-governing territory largely under Moroccan control), within 30 kilometres north and west of the Berm and all areas south and east of the Berm due to the threat posed by unexploded landmines.

Niger

Do not travel outside the capital Niamey due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping, the presence of armed militants and the unpredictable security situation.

Nigeria

Do not travel to the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe. There is an ongoing significant threat from terrorism and a very high threat of kidnapping in these areas.  If you are in one of these areas you should consider departing as soon as it is safe to do so.

Do not travel the delta states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Rivers (including Port Harcourt and Bonny Island) and the river areas of Cross River state in the south east of the country. The significant risk of kidnapping, armed attacks against foreign oil companies and expatriate workers, localised conflict and violent civil unrest present an extreme risk to safety in these areas. If you are in one of these areas you should consider departing as soon as it is safe to do so.

Somalia

Do not travel to Somalia, including Somaliland. New Zealanders currently in Somalia are advised to leave. There is a significant threat from terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict and a high level of violent crime throughout the country.

New Zealanders who decide to travel to Somalia against our advice should ensure that appropriate personal security protection measures are in place at all times. We strongly recommend you consult a reputable security company with experience in Somalia for advice on security arrangements. Security arrangements should be reviewed on a regular basis. Such measures may mitigate the risks to your safety but cannot eliminate them entirely. No part of Somalia can be considered safe. This includes large cities such as Mogadishu and Kismayo.

South Sudan

Do not travel to South Sudan due to ongoing armed conflict, civil unrest and violent crime. 

New Zealanders currently in South Sudan are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Sudan

Do not travel to the Darfur region, the Red Sea state border with Eritrea, the Abyei region, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, areas of Northern Kordofan and White Nile states south of the Kosti-El Obeid-En Nahud road, or within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya, due to the threat of armed conflict and terrorism and the high level of violent crime, including kidnapping. 

The Republic of the Congo

Do not travel to Likouala department within 50 kilometres of the border with the Central African Republic due to the uncertain security situation, high levels of crime and the large presence of displaced people.

Tunisia

Do not travel to the Chaambi Mountains National Park, including the town of Kasserine, near the border with Algeria due to ongoing armed conflict between Tunisian security forces and militant groups.

Do not travel within 30 kilometres of the border with Algeria, in the military zone south of the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba, and within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya, including the town of Ben Guerdane, due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and the presence of armed groups.

Avoid non-essential travel

Destinations in Africa where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

Algeria

Avoid non-essential travel to the mountainous region of Kabylie and  the wilayas (provinces) of Annaba, Béchar, Biskra, El Bayadh, El Taref, Jijel, Khenchela, Laghouat, Skikda, Souk Ahras due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.

Angola

Avoid non-essential travel in the provinces of Cabinda, North Lunda and South Lunda due to violent crime, banditry and kidnapping.

Burkina Faso

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Burkina Faso due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry and the potential for civil unrest.

Cameroon

Avoid non-essential travel in the North and Adamaoua regions due to the threat from terrorism and kidnapping and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

Chad

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Chad, including in the capital N’Djamena due to the threat of terrorism, the potential for violent civil unrest and violent crime.

Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast

Avoid non-essential travel within 20km of the border with Liberia due to the presence of armed groups and the potential for cross-border attacks.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Avoid non-essential travel to your security elsewhere in the DRC due to the potential for civil unrest and violent crime.

Egypt

Avoid non-essential travel to South Sinai due to the risk of terrorism and ongoing military operations. This does not include the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq, where we advise exercising increased caution as below.

Avoid non-essential travel to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, including the Western Desert. This does not include the coastal resort areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh, or the tourist areas along the Nile River, where we advise exercising increased caution as below.

Eritrea

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Eritrea due to the unpredictable security situation which has the potential to deteriorate with little warning should tensions between Eritrea and neighbouring countries escalate.

Ethiopia

Avoid non-essential travel to the Danakil desert area (east of the Dessie-Adigrat road and north of the Dessie-Djibouti road). 

There is a significant threat to your security in these areas due to cross border tensions, the activities of armed militant groups, the risk of kidnapping and armed banditry, and the presence of landmines. 

Guinea

Avoid non-essential travel to the border regions with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire due to cross-border military and rebel activity and the threat of banditry.

Guinea-Bissau

Avoid non-essential travel to the northwest part of the country that borders the Casamance region in Senegal due to the presence of armed rebel groups.

Kenya

Avoid non-essential travel along the A2 Highway north of Turbi and the Moyale border crossing due to sporadic civil unrest.

Avoid non-essential travel to Lamu county, coastal areas of Tana River and Kilifi counties north of Malindi due to the threat from terrorism and violent crime.

Avoid non-essential travel to the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi due to the threat from terrorism and violent crime.

Liberia

Avoid non-essential travel to Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties, on the border with Cote D’Ivoire, due to the presence of armed groups and the possibility of cross-border attacks.

Mauritania

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Mauritania, including the Nouakchott to Nouadhibou corridor, due to the threat of kidnapping, terrorism and the unpredictable security situation.

Mozambique

Avoid non-essential travel to Cabo Delgado province due to ongoing violent clashes.

Niger

Avoid non-essential travel to Niamey due to the threat of kidnapping, violent crime and civil unrest.

Nigeria

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Nigeria (except the cities of Calabar, Abuja and Lagos), due to the threat from terrorism, kidnapping and violent crime.

Rwanda

Avoid non-essential travel to Rwanda’s borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi due to the unpredictable security situation, and the risk of banditry and cross-border incursions by armed groups.

Senegal

Avoid non-essential travel to the Casamance region, except for Cap Skirring, Zinguinchor and the main road connecting these two cities due to armed banditry and clashes between separatist groups and the Senegalese army.

Sudan

Avoid non-essential travel to Sudan due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, violent crime, and the potential for violent civil unrest.  

New Zealanders in Sudan should ensure they have appropriate security measures in place including a contingency plan for departure should a sudden deterioration in the security situation occur. New Zealanders in the capital Khartoum should exercise caution if travelling around the city and avoid travel at night. Travel outside Khartoum requires a permit from local authorities. If you intend travelling outside the capital, you should ensure appropriate personal security protection measures are in place and keep a low profile. 

The Republic of the Congo

Avoid non-essential travel to the Pool department due to the threat of armed banditry and rebel activity.

Tunisia

Avoid non-essential travel to the south of and including the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine and Zarzis due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Zambia

Avoid all non-essential travel to the border areas with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Mozambique due to the presence of landmines. The local authorities can provide advice on affected areas.

Exercise increased caution

Destinations in Africa where we advise caution.

Algeria

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Algeria, due to the potential for civil unrest and the threat of terrorism. 

Angola

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Angola due to violent crime.

Cameroon

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Cameroon due to violent crime, carjackings and piracy (in coastal areas).

Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire due to terrorism, violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Djibouti

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Djibouti due to the threat from terrorism.

Egypt

Exercise increased caution in the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq, due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest, crime and the threat of terrorism.

Exercise increased caution in the coastal resort areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh, and the tourist areas along the Nile River, due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest, crime and the threat of terrorism.

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Egypt due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest, crime and threat of terrorism.

Ethiopia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa, due to violent crime, the threat of terrorism and the unpredictable security situation.

Ghana

 Exercise increased caution around Bawku, Brong Ahafo, Cheriponi, Tamale municipality, Yendi district and the area around Bimbilla due to the potential for violent conflict.

Guinea

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Guinea due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Guinea-Bissau

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Guinea-Bissau due to political instability.

Kenya

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Kenya due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime.

Liberia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Liberia due to the unpredictable security situation and violent crime.

Madagascar

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Madagascar due to the uncertain political situation and violent crime.

Morocco

Exercise increased caution in Morocco and elsewhere in Western Sahara due to the threat of terrorism.

Mozambique

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Mozambique due to violent crime and civil unrest.  

Nigeria

Exercise increased caution in the cities of Calabar, Abuja and Lagos due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime.

Rwanda

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Rwanda due to crime.

Senegal

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Senegal due to terrorism and crime.

Sierra Leone

Exercise increased caution in Sierra Leone due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

South Africa

Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to violent crime.

Tanzania

Exercise increased caution in Tanzania due to violent crime, the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest.

The Gambia

Exercise increased caution in The Gambia due to the the potential for civil unrest.

The Republic of the Congo

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in the Republic of the Congo due to violent crime and ongoing insecurity in some neighbouring countries.

Tunisia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Tunisia due to the threat of terrorism and civil unrest.

Uganda

Exercise increased caution in the Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda due to the threat of banditry, violent crime and armed clashes.

Exercise increased caution within 30 kilometres of the border with South Sudan due to the threat of banditry and other violent crime.

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Uganda due to the threat of terrorism, crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Zambia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Zambia due to violent crime.

Zimbabwe

Exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to underlying political tension and high levels of crime.

Exercise normal safety and security precautions

Destinations in Africa where we advise normal.

Ghana

Exercise normal safety and security precautions elsewhere in Ghana.

Security

Violent crime is a significant problem in a number of South American countries.  “Express kidnappings”, where people are abducted and forced to withdraw money from ATMs, occur in many countries.  Illegal armed groups and criminals involved in drug-related activity have a presence in a range of South American countries, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.  Drug cartels and criminal gangs also have a major presence across parts of Central America and violence associated with these groups can occur without warning.

Several Central American countries have very high levels of violent crime.  Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Guatemala consistently have some of the highest homicide rates in the world.  Much of this violence is drug and gang-related and tourists and foreigners are rarely involved, although there is the potential to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Travellers are more likely to be affected by petty crime, which is common in most Central and South American countries.

Criminal and terrorist groups have in the past been linked with terrorist attacks, kidnapping and other serious violence.  Foreigners have been caught up in kidnappings and bombings in a number of Central and South American countries, most notably in Colombia and Peru.

Health

Medical facilities in Central and South America vary widely in quality. In large cities and tourist areas, clinics often provide high quality care for routine and emergency issues.  In smaller centres or rural areas access to supplies and a standard of medical care similar to New Zealand is likely to be more difficult to find. New Zealanders travelling or resident in Central or South America should hold a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

A number of mosquito-borne illnesses, including Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Malaria and Zika virus, are common throughout parts of Central and South America. Travellers are advised to use insect repellent, wear protective clothing, and stay in lodgings where there are mosquito screens on windows and doors. The Ministry of Health website  contains more advice on avoiding mosquito bites while travelling. 

In some South American countries, especially Peru and Ecuador, shamans and other individuals offer ‘spiritual cleansing’ rituals which involve serving Ayahuasca tea. This tea contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a hallucinogen. While not illegal, ayahuasca tourism is not regulated and consumption of the tea does present certain risks. Although deaths from ayahuasca remain uncommon, there have been reports of psychological damage, and assault, theft and rape of people under the influence.

Altitude sickness

The Andes mountain range is a prominent feature of South American geography and many parts of the continent are above 2500m. This includes some urban areas, such as Bogotá (2640m), Quito (2850m), Cuzco (3399) and La Paz (3690m). Additionally many tourist attractions, like Macchu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon are found above this altitude. Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2500m, especially if the ascent is rapid, are at risk of developing altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness can affect anyone, even those who are physically fit, and in certain circumstances can be life-threatening. Those more at risk may have had altitude sickness before, have health problems that affect their breathing or who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting to the altitude. If you plan to travel to high altitude areas, you should consult your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to your medical situation.

Local laws

A number of countries in South America are large producers of cocaine and other narcotics.  There are severe penalties for drug trafficking and you should make sure that you are aware of the contents of all of your bags, particularly when crossing international borders. You should also never agree to carry items or luggage for others or become involved in the trafficking of drugs of any kind.  Harsh penalties apply for those convicted of drug related crimes and the standard of prisons is very different to what you’d find in New Zealand and they are often very over crowded.  New Zealand does not have prisoner transfer agreements so if convicted you will have to serve your sentence in a foreign prison in difficult conditions.

Hurricane season

Each year the Caribbean region experiences hurricanes and these storms have the potential to create high winds, heavy rains and flooding, resulting in widespread damage to countries on the Caribbean coast.  The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and the risk level varies between countries, as well as from season to season. 

New Zealanders are advised to monitor local and international weather reports to keep up to date with developments. If you are staying in a hotel, you should follow the guidance of hotel management or your tour operator. Otherwise, heed any instructions issued by the local authorities. Do not go outdoors during a hurricane and remain well away from the sea.  For further information, including on the likely path of a hurricane, visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov .

Do not travel

Destinations in Central/South America where we advise against all travel.

Colombia

Do not travel to the cities of Buenaventura and Tumaco, and in the border areas with Ecuador (except the border crossing at Ipiales), Panama (within Chocó) and Venezuela due to high levels of criminal activity and the threat of kidnapping.

Ecuador

Do not travel within 20 kilometres of the border with Colombia, except for the official crossing town of Tulcan in the province of Carchi, due to the threat from kidnapping and organised and drug-related crime.

Honduras

Do not travel to the Department of Gracias a Dios, Chamelecón, Choloma and Cofradía in the department of Cortés due to high levels of violent crime.

Panama

Do not travel to the Darien Gap, south of the town of Yaviza, due to violent crime and the presence of drug traffickers and armed guerrilla forces. This includes the Darien National Park, nature reserves and tourist resorts.

Venezuela

Do not travel to Venezuela due to ongoing high levels of violent crime, the potential for violent civil unrest, political uncertainty and shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies.

There is a risk of kidnapping due to drug traffickers and illegal armed groups operating within 80 kilometres of the border with Colombia, particularly in the States of Zulia, Tachira and Apure.

Avoid non-essential travel

Destinations in Central/South America where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

Colombia

Avoid non-essential travel to the departments of Arauca, Caquetá, Cauca (except the city of Popayán), Chocó (except Quibdó, Nuqui and Bahia Solano), Guainía, Guaviare, Meta (except Villavicencio and Caño Cristales), Nariño (except the city of Pasto and the border crossing in Ipiales), Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Vichada and rural areas of northern Antioquia, southern Bolívar, southern Cordoba and southern Valle del Cauca due to the presence of illegal armed groups, and drug-related criminal activity.

Ecuador

Avoid non-essential travel to the northern province of Sucumbios due to the threat from kidnapping and organised and drug-related crime.

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Ecuador due to violent civil unrest. This advice does not apply to the Galapagos Islands or to transit through Quito or Guayaquil Airports for onward travel to Galapagos.

Nicaragua

Avoid non-essential travel to Nicaragua due to civil unrest and violent crime.

Peru

Avoid non-essential travel to within 20 kilometres of the border with Colombia and Ecuador due to the presence of drug traffickers, the occasional presence of armed guerrilla forces, and landmines. Avoid crossing the border with Colombia by land.

Exercise increased caution

Destinations in Central/South America where we advise caution.

Argentina

Exercise increased caution in Argentina due to crime.

Belize

Exercise increased caution in Belize due to violent crime.

Bolivia

Exercise increased caution in Bolivia due to the potential for civil unrest and violent crime. 

Brazil

Exercise increased caution in Brazil due to violent crime. 

Chile

Exercise increased caution in Chile due to the potential for violent civil unrest.

Colombia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Colombia due to violent crime and the threat of terrorism. 

Costa Rica

Exercise increased caution in Costa Rica due to violent crime.

El Salvador

Exercise increased caution in El Salvador due to violent crime.

Guatemala

Exercise increased caution in Guatemala due to violent crime and civil unrest.

Honduras

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Honduras due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

Panama

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Panama due to criminal activity and the potential for civil unrest.

Peru

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Peru due to violent crime. 

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