Qatar advises nationals to avoid hot spots amid safety concerns

June 20, 2011
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A Qatari foreign ministry’s travel advisory has been seen by Qataris as a confirmation of their safety concerns while on vacation abroad in light of their country’s perceived role in the Arab uprisings, a local daily reported.

The advisory is part of a new service launched by the ministry for Qatari citizens travelling abroad.

Tawasol (Connection), as the advisory is called, cautions citizens against visiting “dangerous” and “suspected” spots in host countries, without naming any, The Peninsula reported on Monday.

The service aims to provide travel advisory and alerts to Qataris travelling abroad in order to guarantee their safety and well-being.

While most recommendations appeared common and similar to those issued by other countries to their citizens, several Qataris have wondered why the ministry has chosen to issue the guidelines this time, since it had not done that in the past — even during the H1N1 or SARS outbreak.

“I have been travelling with my family to Europe and other destinations for the past several years but I haven’t come across such an advisory from the foreign ministry,” a Qatari said, though he welcomed the move.

“Is it to assuage fears among Qataris that they are facing security threats in some countries in the region?” another asked, according to the daily.

The guidelines range from basic instructions such as checking the validity of the passport and the Qatari ID and making necessary travel arrangements to alerts against E coli outbreak.

“If security personnel ask permission to inspect your lodging, then ask them to produce the written inspection order from the authorities concerned before starting inspection,” the advisory said. “Contact the Qatari mission immediately in case of detention, arrest or investigation in any case. Don’t reply to any person who asks about your nationality or those who ask you to produce the ID before checking their official identity card.”

Citizens have been advised to contact the nearest Qatari mission in the respective countries in case of emergency. A hotline number has also been provided for emergency assistance.

According to travel agencies, most Qatari tourists tended to avoid Middle Eastern destinations this year due to the ongoing political turmoil, resulting in a high demand for air tickets to Europe, Australia and several Far Eastern countries.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-advises-nationals-to-avoid-hot-spots-1.823940

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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