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Australian travellers: undaunted by travel risks

Port Moresby, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Dhaka, and Istanbul are among highest-risk cities visited by Australian business travellers in the past year. (Photo Credit: Rawpixel/Getty Images)
Port Moresby, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Dhaka, and Istanbul are among highest-risk cities visited by Australian business travellers in the past year. (Photo Credit: Rawpixel/Getty Images)

Port Moresby, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Dhaka, and Istanbul are among the highest-risk cities that Australian business travellers have regularly visited in the past year, according to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) and iJET International.

The Business Travel Alert Map, created by GBT and iJet, features data from all air bookings made directly with GBT for Australian-based travellers between March 2016 and February 2017, segmented according to highest risk within APAC, highest risk overall, and highest increased risk.

Jo Sully, vice president and general manager, American Express GBT, ANZ, said, "Despite ongoing global unrest, business travel remains an essential revenue driver for companies. Recently, our research indicated that employees are reporting heightened anxiety when travelling, and that the number of destinations causing concern has also risen.

John Rose, COO, iJET International, said, "For today's business travellers, it's important that companies remain informed with up-to-date intelligence on security concerns for any city visited by staff.

"Modern duty of care requires around-the-clock intelligence, combined with the technology to locate and communicate with employees in need. This may include repatriating travellers caught up in serious civil unrest or proactively sending information to help manage periods of disruption," he said.

Top 5 highest risk cities within APAC which Australian business travellers are visiting: 

1. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
• High crime rates and poor security are common in Port Moresby, where most expatriates live in gated compounds. 
• It is a common practice to drive through red traffic lights at night to avoid carjackings. 
• Many crimes against foreign nationals have been recorded in recent months. 
• Corruption among law enforcement is high. 
• Civil unrest also occurs regularly, and the police and security forces often struggle with effective crowd control during unrest and riots, leading to additional risk to business travellers.

2. Dhaka, Bangladesh
• Groups operating in Dhaka have been found to have links to terrorists, including Islamic State. 
• A terror attack in July 2016 killed 18 foreign nationals. 
• Dhaka also experiences high crime and regular civil unrest.

3. Lahore, Pakistan
• A suicide bombing in March 2016 claimed the lives of 75 people, and consulates within Lahore continue to issue warnings of possible attack plots, including against targets frequented by foreign nationals.

4. Kolkata, India
• There are high levels of crime in many areas throughout Kolkata. 
• Political and civil unrest have resulted in minor bombings. These are, typically, targeted in nature, but collateral damage poses a potential threat to business travellers. 
• Islamic State has also made threats to attack India, using supporters from Bangladesh, and Kolkata is the closest major city to the Bangladeshi border.

5. Manila, Philippines
• While Manila is generally safe for business travellers, concerns remain within non-business areas where foreigners can be targeted by violent crime. This includes Asian expatriates who are often perceived to carry large amounts of cash. 
• Police corruption and the violent war on illegal drugs also increase risk within the city.

Top 5 highest risk cities for Australian business travellers: 

1. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
(as above)

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
• Tourist neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro are interspersed with slums that have high crime rates, meaning business travellers can easily wander into dangerous areas unawares. 
• Gang activity within the city has also led to indiscriminate shootings. 
• Political upheaval and corruption have resulted in significant civil unrest since the 2016 Summer Olympics

3. Johannesburg, South Africa
• While Durban, another South African city, has a higher crime rate overall, it is more concentrated within business areas in Johannesburg. "Follow robberies", where criminals follow business travellers from airports or shopping centres, occur regularly. 
• Local police are also poorly trained in crowd control, which can lead to escalating violence during periods of civil unrest.

4. Dhaka, Bangladesh
(as above)

5. Istanbul, Turkey
• There were five terrorist attacks between March 2016 and February 2017, several of which targeted civilians. 
• Islamic State supporters are believed to operate in Turkey, and may increase in number as an offensive against the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq pushes them across the border. 
• A failed coup in 2016 led to a crackdown on opposition figures and security personnel, forcing Turkey to bring in less familiar law enforcement from other parts of the country. Civil unrest occurs periodically and often leads to clashes with police.

Top 5 recently increased risk cities which Australian business travellers are visiting: 

1. Istanbul, Turkey
(as above)

2. Dhaka, Bangladesh
(as above)

3. London, United Kingdom
• Multiple terror attacks in the past year have increased the risk level for business travellers visiting London. However, rapid response from police and security reduces overall concerns.

4. Lahore, Pakistan
(as above)

5. Paris, France
• Paris has seen some small terror attacks but has generally had success in stopping large-scale attacks, with no major incidents since November 2015. Major labour protests have resulted in strikes across many sectors which have affected business operations temporarily.