Outbound Travel Alert System
Outbound Travel Alert System (OTA System, Chinese: 外遊警示制度; Jyutping: ngoi6 jau4 ging2 si6 zai3 dou6) is a travel advice system for residents of Hong Kong who are travelling overseas. Based on risk assessments by the Security Bureau of the Hong Kong Government, it advises travellers from Hong Kong of the potential risk to personal safety in other countries or regions in the current environment.
On 25 November 2008, Thai anti-government protesters of the Thai political crisis rushed into and occupied the Departure Hall of the Suvarnabhumi Airport, which forced the airport to close and cancel all departing flights. Nearly 500 residents of Hong Kong were affected by the incident and were stranded in Bangkok. Two days later, representatives from the Hong Kong tourism industry claimed that the Hong Kong Government had been too passive about the incident, and that the Security Bureau had not issued any travel warnings. The Chinese Government, Macau Government and other countries began to send charters to repatriate their residents from Thailand four days after the incident. However, the Secretary of the Security Bureau announced that Hong Kong would have special arrangements with Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Express for their residents to return home, after a Hong Kong couple were involved in a car crash on the way from Bangkok to Phuket International Airport.
The Hong Kong Government was accused of being unresponsive, having no sense of crisis and handling the case ineffectively during the incident. The Hong Kong Government and the country's tourism industry held discussions on tourism warning systems; and on 20 October 2009, the Security Bureau established the Outbound Travel Alert System.
|Warning symbols||Warning Level||Circumstances||Messages to public||Nationals or regions under this level|
|Signs of threat
Japan (Fukushima Prefecture only)
|Adjust travel plans
Avoid non-essential travel
Turkey (Ankara and Istanbul only)
|Avoid all travel||Syria|
The Outbound Travel Alert System covers 85 countries, which are the foreign countries that are the most popular destinations for residents of Hong Kong; other destinations are occasionally added. According to the guidelines of the Security Bureau, Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan are not included in the system.
- Except the stated 25 countries or regions, the remaining 60 countries are forced to under the system since 20 October 2009.
The Immigration Department offers a travel advisory service, known as "Points to Note When Planning Your Trip". Three to four days prior to their journey, residents of Hong Kong can provide their cell phone number and their travel destination and dates. The Immigration Department will then send a text message containing any warnings, advisories or incidents relating to that country prior to the traveller's departure.
- Foreign Affairs Canada - issues travel advice and advisories on their web site to Canadians travelling abroad called Travel Advice and Advisories
- Official website of the Outbound Travel Alert System
- "外遊警示制度今起生效" (in Chinese). Headline Daily. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
- "大笑話包機冇人知" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 26 November 2008.
- "500港客滯留睏行李帶" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 27 November 2008.
- "五百港人仍滯留 今明仍無航班" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 28 November 2008.
- "不發旅警 業界轟港府被動" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 28 November 2008.
- "首班澳門包機接載170人" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2008-11-30.
- "趕搭機車禍港漢死妻傷" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2 December 2008.
- "大笑話包機冇人知" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2 December 2008.
- "港府遲鈍 曾蔭權被斥廢柴" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 3 December 2008.
- "劉國勳狠批港府袖手" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2 December 2008.
- "包機七成半空置旅客怒轟" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 4 December 2008.
- "包機鬧劇催生三色旅警" (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 11 March 2010.
- "85 countries covered by the OTA System (in alphabetical order)". Security Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- Included since 24 February 2011
- Included since 29 December 2011
- "Travelling outside Hong Kong". Immigration Department. February 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2013.