Outbound Travel Alert System extended to cover 80 countries

     The coverage of Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) System has been extended today (February 24) from 60 countries to 80. The 20 newly added countries (Annex 1) are tourist destinations which have become more popular among Hong Kong residents.

     A Security Bureau spokesperson said, "The Security Bureau reviews the coverage of the OTA system regularly to ensure the system meets the need of the residents and provides information on safety risk for Hong Kong residents travelling abroad."

     "Since late last year, we have enhanced the dissemination of information at the OTA webpage of the Security Bureau. There are hyperlinks to the travel risk information databases complied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Australian, British and Canadian governments, helping residents to obtain more information about travel risk. We have also added a column of 'Other information' releasing relevant information of places which are outside the scope of the OTA," the spokesperson said.

     After assessing the situation of the 20 newly added countries, the Security Bureau today issued a Red OTA for Lebanon and Tunisia, and an Amber OTA for Albania, Qatar and Syria. The OTA currently in force is at Annex 2.
     "Outbound travel is a personal decision, but the Government encourages Hong Kong residents to take heed of the OTA before firming up their travel plans," the spokesperson added.

     Residents outside Hong Kong who need assistance may call the 24-hour hotline (852) 1868 of the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Immigration Department.

     OTA webpage of the Security Bureau is at: www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/ .

Ends/Thursday, February 24, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:58