The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) expressed its concern on Tuesday that vague, generalized worldwide travel warnings that offer no country-specific details can be confusing to travelers and risk discouraging travel across the board.
ASTA was referring to the Worldwide Travel Alert issued by U.S. Department of State on November 23, which recommended, among other things, that U.S. citizens remain vigilant when in public places and when using public transportation, to avoid crowds and to be aware of their surroundings.
“While the issuance of the alert was no doubt well-intentioned, the lack of any detail particularizing the conditions in specific countries or regions of the world is concerning,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby.
“Vague, overly broad warnings offer travelers little in the way of helpful guidance. In fact, they have the unintended consequence of discouraging travel everywhere, negatively affecting the travel industry and the economy as a whole,” he said.
ASTA said that country-specific travel alerts and warnings are to be taken seriously.
“While consumers booking their own travel will typically have little else to rely upon, experienced and knowledgeable travel agents are uniquely positioned to guide their clients in making informed travel decisions”, Mr Kerby said.
ASTA members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel.