In the wake of the Manchester bombing, many Australians may be reconsidering their UK travel plans.
According to the latest advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the attack in Manchester on 22 May has, so far, resulted in 22 dead and 119 injured. It is the worst terror incident since the 7/7 London bombings in 2005.
As a result, the UK Government has raised the domestic threat level from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’ – the highest it’s been in almost 10 years.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May believes that another attack may be imminent and has deployed armed forces to key sites across the country.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel to the UK. The increased military presence will provide a deterrent for terrorist and criminal activity and will provide relief for UK police to further investigate terror suspects and people of interest.
SmartTraveller has advised Australians to avoid Manchester, especially the areas surrounding the Manchester Arena. If you do head to this region, you can expect significant transport delays and an increased security presence.
If you’re travelling to the UK in the next few weeks, DFAT advises that you be vigilant about your personal safety and closely monitor news and social media channels for updates on security in the region. In other words, exercise a high degree of caution throughout the UK.
According to SmartTraveller, this means:
- having a basic understanding of the political and security situation in your destination
- familiarising yourself with the destination, especially dangerous areas of a city, types of crimes, risky modes of transport, specific precautions for women or LGBTI travellers and any behaviour that may offend or break the law
- being aware of religious holidays or days of national significance. In some countries, terrorists have launched attacks on these occasions
- understanding the safety of public transport options
- leaving your itinerary, contact details and scans of key travel documents with friends or family. Always let them know if your plans change
- following the advice of local authorities on safety and security issues
- avoiding known flashpoints when travelling between points at your destination, such as protest areas
- steering clear of unknown areas. Find out how safe they are first
- if there is a threat of terrorism, consider the level of security provided at the types of locations which may be targeted by terrorists. If you decide to visit such a location, minimise your time there.
So, be wary in public places and report any suspicious activity to the local authorities. To stay on top of the safety situation in the UK, please visit SmartTraveller.
Do you plan to travel to the UK soon? Are you worried about any further attacks? Or do you think that now may be as good a time as any to go? Perhaps even safer than normal?