Business Travel Advisory
Travelers crossing the Dominican Republic-Haiti border should anticipate heightened security after the government of the Dominican Republic announced it would send an additional 1,200 troops to the border with Haiti. The move is in anticipation of further anti-government unrest in Haiti and in an effort to hinder illegal immigration and smuggling. Shortly after midnight on January 1, protesters in the border city of Anse-a-Pitre set fire to the local police station and stole firearms from the facility after a community leader was killed during a police operation.
On Tuesday, January 7, travelers in Sao Paulo should plan journeys bypassing a planned demonstration over recent increases in public transportation fares. Demonstrators plan to assemble at 5:00 PM local time at City Hall.
Passengers transiting Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) should continue to reconfirm flight schedules due to an ongoing indefinite strike by the aircraft refuelers’ union. The strike, which began on December 31, may also affect operations at the Mirabel International Airport (YMX).
Non-essential travel to Haiti should be deferred amid ongoing political unrest. Those in-country should minimize non-essential movement during an opposition protest campaign through January 13. Protests remain frequent and burning barricades were erected on January 1 on Delmas 17 in Port-au-Prince.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Travelers in the Middle East should closely monitor developments related to a US airstrike on a vehicle convoy at Baghdad International Airport (BGW) last night. A senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the leader of Kataib Hizbullah, a unit of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were among those killed. The US Department of Defense confirmed that US President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike targeting Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force unit. The incident comes amid a notable escalation in regional US-Iran tensions.
Travelers in Kindu should exercise caution and expect heightened security due to ongoing communal violence involving youths from two neighborhoods. At least eight people have been injured in clashes between residents of the Jamaica and Lukunda neighborhoods since January 1. Police used tear gas to disperse youths on Avenue Lisamba following clashes in the city center involving vandalism and looting. Although authorities have deployed extra security forces to the city, travelers should monitor developments and avoid all crowds, as the situation remains tense and further unrest is possible.
On Monday, January 6, travelers in Conakry should avoid a rally organized by the Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) opposition group due to the risk of unrest. Participants will gather at 8:00 AM local time at Rond-Point Tannerie and proceed to Rond-Point Hamdalleye. The protest is being held over President Alpha Conde’s efforts to seek another term in office. Security forces may use tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protests, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
All travel to Iraq should be deferred through Sunday, January 5 due to a high risk of unrest and retaliatory attacks following last night’s controversial US airstrike near Baghdad’s International Airport (BGW) that killed Qasem Soleimani, the senior commander of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force, as well as a senior leader of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). All primary airports remain operational, including Baghdad, Basra International (BSR), and Najaf International (NJF). Today, the US Embassy ordered its citizens to leave Iraq immediately.
On Monday, January 6, travelers in urban centers should avoid demonstrations organized by the Council of Patriots (CoP) activist group as part of its “Step Down Campaign” against President George Weah, despite the government ban on all protests through January 30. The CoP originally planned to hold a rally in Monrovia on December 30; however, the event was postponed due to the government’s inability to provide adequate security for protesters. The pro-government Independent Council of Patriot group is likely to organize counter-protests, increasing the risk for potential disturbances. An exact venue for the main demonstration in Monrovia has not yet been agreed upon by the government and the CoP.
Today, authorities at Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport (MJI) temporarily suspended operations due to nearby shelling. Operations at the airport have started to resume; however, operations at Misrata International Airport (MRA) remain suspended.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further protests by civil society groups denouncing a hike in electricity tariffs due to the risk of local disruption and unrest. A fresh protest is planned for today in the Guediawaye district of Dakar. Nationwide gatherings have been announced for January 10. Protests are likely to be banned by authorities at short notice. At least 25 people were arrested following clashes between police officers and protesters on December 20.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Travelers should continue to expect and avoid further gatherings associated with the ongoing protest movement in Hong Kong. The high turnout at a rally organized by the Civil Human Right Front on January 1 indicates that the momentum of the demonstrations will be sustained for the remainder of the month. While most protests have passed off peacefully, clashes between participants and police occurred during planned rallies over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Small groups of protesters may also continue to hold unauthorized and spontaneous gatherings, and travelers should therefore maintain flexible itineraries.
Travelers should continue to closely monitor ongoing bushfires and plan journeys accordingly. Today, Victoria declared a State of Disaster as fire conditions are expected to deteriorate on January 4-5. This will empower authorities to conduct rescue and recovery operations as well as order evacuations and control measures, such as roadblocks. Travelers should continue to follow all official directives and be prepared to defer or change travel plans at short notice, especially for journeys to non-urban areas.
Authorities have implemented five “Leave Zones” across affected areas in southern parts of New South Wales due to expected Extreme Fire Conditions (second-highest fire danger level on a six-tier scale) tomorrow. All travel to areas in the “Leave Zones” should be deferred and travelers currently in these areas should arrange to depart today. Travelers should refer to the New South Wales Fire Danger Map for the latest advisories and follow all official directives.
A cluster of cases of pneumonia is under investigation in Wuhan, Hubei, with several people in serious condition. The cluster appears to be linked to a local seafood market. The exact cause has not been determined at this stage. All travelers are advised pay attention to general hygiene and avoid wet markets. Travelers with symptoms should seek medical attention.
Travelers in urban centers should continue to avoid demonstrations by various groups over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Leftist parties have called for a week-long nationwide protest campaign through Tuesday, January 7, which will end with a general strike on Wednesday, January 8. While widespread violence is not expected, there remains a low but persistent threat of unrest.
Travelers in Jakarta and other urban centers should continue to plan journeys accounting for intermittent disruption during the ongoing monsoon season. The overall flood situation in Jakarta is improving, while recovery and repair operations remain ongoing; however, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency has forecast further rainfall in Jakarta and surrounding areas in the coming week. This may cause fresh flooding or exacerbate the situation in areas already affected by flooding. Travelers should reconfirm the feasibility of journeys before setting out.
All inbound travelers are required to show proof of up-to-date measles vaccinations or measles immunity to enter the Marshall Islands. Those who do not have the required proof will be denied entry. In addition, citizens and foreign residents who are temporarily departing the Marshall Islands will be denied exit if they do not have proof of vaccination or immunity.
Travelers should monitor developments related to the Presidential and Legislative elections on January 11. Local disruption can be expected around election-related rallies and gatherings leading up to Election Day, which are likely to be very well-attended. Travelers should plan journeys accounting for disruption if passing through the vicinity of rally venues and exercise situational awareness due to the risk of scuffles between rival supporters during rallies.
Travelers in the UK and European Union (EU) should continue to monitor developments and follow all government guidelines related to the process of the UK leaving the EU, known as “Brexit.” The EU has agreed on a flexible extension date of January 31, 2020. Local gatherings relating to Brexit may take place in the UK, with most such events likely to be focused on Parliament Square in London.
Travelers should continue to factor significant transportation disruption into their journeys as nationwide strikes over planned pension reforms persist. The Transilien, Intercites, TER, and TGV rail networks are among those affected, with significantly reduced services. While the overall level of disruption has decreased, strikes will continue into the new year. Related well-attended demonstrations have occurred nationwide since December 5, with the next gatherings planned for Thursday, January 9. An indefinite aviation sector strike planned for today is now expected to have limited impact, after the main unions representing pilots and air crew called off their participation.
On Sunday, January 5, travelers in Valletta should anticipate local disruption around an anti-government protest organized by civil society groups Repubblika and Occupy Justice. Participants will protest at 3:00 PM local time in front of Parliament before joining an anti-corruption protest concert at 4:30 PM local time. Protesters will demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat over alleged links to the death of an anti-corruption journalist in October 2017. These allegations came to light last November. Muscat has noted that he will resign on January 12. While related demonstrations have passed off peacefully, minor scuffles remain possible.