With the escalating violence in Hong Kong between police and protesters, it is timely to remind of the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website – smartraveller.gov.au.

The website allows travellers to register their trip to each country and subscribe to travel advice for each country.

Additionally, it gives general advice for business travellers and provides tips on risks for Australian employers and individual business travellers to consider as part of their routine risk assessment process for short-term overseas travel to participate in meetings, conferences and trade shows and longer-term for deployments.

The current Smartraveller official advice for Hong Kong is to exercise a “high degree of caution”.

The advice further reads … “There is an ongoing risk of violent confrontation. ‘Flash mob’ demonstrations take place with little or no warning, with instances of violence and vandalism. Expect road closures, transport disruptions and heightened police action, including the use of tear gas. MTR stations, the Airport Express, shopping centres and businesses may close or suspend services at short notice. If there are signs of disorder, move away quickly to a safe place. Avoid demonstrations and monitor local media.”
As conditions can change suddenly, Smartraveller also recommends subscribing to their updates, getting the right travel insurance, and, following them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

The Smartraveller entry for Hong Kong and other countries also advises on country entry and exit including any visa requirements, safety and security, local travel, local and Australian laws, health, natural disasters, where to get help, and additional information.

The Australian Government supplies 24 hour consular assistance to all Australian residents when travelling overseas and Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates are located in many countries worldwide.

I strongly recommend all business travellers register with Smartraveller before they depart for any overseas travel – I always do!

For international trade and investment assistance contact the TCCI’s TradeStart Adviser, Sally Chandler, at sally.chandler@tcci.com.au or phone 1300 559 122.