Business Travel Advisory 1/18/19

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THE AMERICAS

United States
Tomorrow, travelers in Washington DC and other urban centers should expect disruption around a series of women’s rights rallies and plan journeys bypassing these to minimize travel inconvenience. Pro-testers in Washington DC will rally at Freedom Plaza. Details of related events across the US can be found at the Women’s March website. The gatherings are expected to be well attended in major cities and to pass off peacefully.

Travelers in the Northeast and Midwest should expect cancellations and delays to air travel this weekend as a series of winter storms moves across the country. Approximately 450 flights have been canceled for Friday morning at various airports in the Northeast and Midwest. A second storm will bring lake effect snow to Milwaukee and Chicago this weekend, with as much as six inches of snow forecast.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Algeria 
On Monday, January 21, travelers in urban centers should expect and avoid rallies linked to a planned nationwide strike by several labor unions representing education sector workers. The industrial action will be followed by sit-ins outside all the Directorates of Education nationwide, as well as at several educational institutions, on Tuesday, January 22 at 2:00 PM local time. The events follow a failed negotiation between unions and the government over education-related issues. Further associated demonstrations are likely in the coming weeks if the issues remain unresolved.

Congo (DRC) 
Essential movement in Congo (DRC) can continue with caution amid continued tension over the results of the December 30 Presidential Election. Provisional results have given the victory to Felix Tshisekedi of the opposition Coalition for Change, though this is being challenged in the courts by runner-up Martin Fayulu of the Lamuka opposition coalition. While the overall security situation remains relatively calm, political developments are likely to increase tensions and prompt further protests in the coming days; particularly tomorrow through Monday, January 21, when the Constitutional Court will rule on Fayulu’s challenge, and the official results will be released.

Nigeria 
Travelers in Nigeria should monitor developments and avoid all political gatherings around the Presidential and National Assembly Elections scheduled for February 16, and Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections on March 2. Outbreaks of political unrest are possible around both sets of polls. The main electoral challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is former VicePresident Atiku Abubakar representing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). A visible security force presence should be expected in main urban centers.

Saudi Arabia 
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Saudi Arabia should anticipate disruption due to forecast dust storms. The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection has issued an alert warning for poor visibility due to strong winds, dust storms, and fog; the storm affected the northern provinces of al Jauf, Hael, Northern Borders, and Tobuk yesterday and will move south towards the provinces of Eastern, Qassim, and Riyadh today and tomorrow.

South Africa 
Travelers in Pretoria and Cape Town should avoid the vicinity of the Zimbabwean Embassy and Consulate due to ongoing protests. The gatherings are in protest of a crackdown by the Zimbabwean government on dissent in the country. The protests are likely to be peaceful but should avoid as a precaution.

Sudan 
Today, travelers in Khartoum should avoid an ongoing sit-in protest at the Royal Care International Hospital in the Burri al Daraisa area. A sit-in protest has also been called in neighboring Omdurman City. Additional gatherings should be anticipated on the day after Friday prayers. Yesterday, security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse a demonstration in Burri al Daraisa.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Australia
Today, passengers transiting Sydney Airport (SYD) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm flights. At least 40 domestic flights to and from the facility have been delayed or canceled due to an unexpected shortage of air traffic controllers. Airlines that have been affected include Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia. Airport authorities have said they are arranging for replacement staff, and the situation is expected to improve over the coming hours.

Bangladesh 
Tomorrow, travelers in Dhaka should avoid a rally by the ruling Awami League (AL) party at Suhrawardy Udyan. While the start time is unclear, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will make an appearance at the venue at 11:00 AM local time. A heightened security presence can be expected around the event, which is being held to celebrate AL’s victory in the December 30 General Elections. The road from Shahbag to Matsya Bhaban will be closed to the general public. Furthermore, traffic diversions are likely to be implemented in several areas, including Banglamotors, Bakshi Bazar, the InterContinental Hotel and Nilkhet Road. The event is expected to be well attended.

China 
On Sunday, January 20, travelers in Hong Kong should anticipate local disruption during a protest by nurses at the Central Government Offices complex in the Admiralty district. The exact time of the demonstration, which is in protest of a shortage of nurses during the annual flu season, is not known. While the gathering is likely to be peaceful, it should be avoided to minimize inconvenience.

Travelers should expect heightened demand for accommodations and transportation during the annual Lunar New Year holiday period, which takes place from February 4 to 8; Lunar New Year itself falls on February 5. Significant congestion can be expected at transportation hubs and along major routes due to a large volume of travelers, particularly at the beginning and the end of the holiday period. Travelers should make bookings well in advance and plan journeys accounting for potential travel disruption.

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the US Department of State issued an “updated” Travel Advisory for China. The US Department of State still lists China under its Level 2 Advisory (US citizens should “exercise enhanced caution” when traveling). The updated Travel Advisory released on Thursday, January 3 goes into greater detail in listing the potential risks for dual US/Chinese citizens. US Citizens traveling to China or Tibet are advised to carry a valid US Passport and Chinese Visa at all times while in country and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to departing the United States.

India 
Today, travelers in Asom, including in the main city of Guwahati, should anticipate disruption and avoid all protests related to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) bill. The gatherings, organized by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) party, are expected to be well-attended due to widespread opposition to the bill, and may result in scuffles between protesters and police. AGP plans to hold further statewide rallies on January 30, as well as a sit-in outside the Legislative Assembly in Guwahati on January 24.

South Korea 
Travelers in South Korea during the annual Lunar New Year holiday period should expect disruption and an increased demand for transportation and accommodations. The official holiday period will run from February 4 to 6, with Lunar New Year itself falling on February 5.

Taiwan 
Travelers should plan itineraries accounting for significant travel delays during the upcoming annual Lunar New Year holiday period. The official public holiday period runs from February 4 to 8, with Lunar New Year itself falling on February 5. An increased demand for accommodations and transportation can also be expected. Travelers should make related arrangements well in advance and reconfirm existing bookings.

Vietnam 
Travelers should expect disruption and heightened demand for accommodations and transportation during the annual Lunar New Year holiday period from February 4 to 8; the Tet holiday falls on February 5.

EUROPE

Regional 
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption due to adverse weather conditions. Ongoing stormy weather has affected Baku and Ashkhabad and other parts of the region. Meteorological agencies in both countries have forecast heavy rain, snowfall, and wind gusts over the next 48 hours. Authorities in Azerbaijan have imposed a speed limit on Heydar Aliev Avenue in Baku, as well as on the Zigh-Airport Highway.

Italy 
On Monday, January 21, travelers in urban centers should reconfirm travel arrangements during a four-hour nationwide public transportation strike. The industrial action will affect metro, bus, and coaches for hire services. The timings of the metro and bus strike will vary in different cities, while coaches for hire services will be affected from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM local time. A coalition of six trade unions has called for the work stoppage to protest of proposed reforms on driving times and resting regulations.

Russia 
Today, travelers in Moscow, as well as the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island, should plan journeys accounting for disruption due to adverse weather conditions. Meteorologists have forecast heavy snow, blizzards, and wind gusts for these areas. The highway connecting Nogliki to Okha has been temporarily closed. National carrier Aeroflot has canceled or rescheduled several flights due to poor weather conditions.

Serbia 
Travelers in urban centers should continue to avoid anti-government demonstrations over the unsolved murder of prominent Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic in Mitrovica, among other issues. Today, a protest will occur at 6:00 PM local time in front of the Serbian National Theater in Novi Sad. A similar gathering will take place at 6:00 PM local time at Nikola Pasic Square in Zajecar. Tomorrow, a demonstration has been planned in Belgrade, though further details have not been released.

Spain 
Travelers in Barcelona should plan itineraries accounting for an indefinite taxi strike that began at short notice today, in response to emerging details of proposed regulations for ride-hailing services. In an associated protest, taxi drivers are attempting to block access to the city’s El Prat Airport (BCN); they have staged a go-slow on the C-31 in l’Hopitalet towards the airport’s Terminal 2, which some drivers are already picketing. The government is proposing that ride-sharing bookings be made at least 15 minutes in advance; taxi unions want a minimum of 24 hours.

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