Additional Information on the Macao SAR Travel Alert

Chinese and Portuguese are the official languages of the Macao SAR, the English version of the web site is the translation of the official content redacted in Chinese and Portuguese and should only serve as reference.

1. Introduction

1.1. Events such as the threat from a new type of terrorism, natural disasters and technological accidents are some of the examples that highlights the importance to adapt and be prepared, at any given time and without notice, to face a crisis situation.

 

1.2. For this reason, it is considered of extreme importance the availability in the Macao S.A.R. (MSAR) of a Travel Alert System that enables the timely and easy dissemination of information related to crisis, emergency or disaster situations that affects different parts of the world,  in order to raise the awareness of the population, in order for them to make a better decision/choice regarding their visits abroad.

 

2. Objectives

2.1. The Travel Alert primarily aims to provide information about the specific security of one or more travel destinations, allowing Macao residents to be well informed and enabling them to exert decisions when travelling to a certain destination while taking the necessary measures for situations which they may encounter during their travels that may jeopardize their personal safety.

 

2.2. In order to achieve the intended objectives, the Travel Alert System will take into account the most popular destinations for Macao residents and will vary according to the concrete situation, thus it will depend on the type of risk and danger level of the socio-economical fabric and political frame of the destinations that may constitute a simple or complex scenario (with multiple hazards).

 

3. Scope and Responsibility

3.1. The Travel Alert System does not have a prohibitive nature, the decision to travel or to adjust travel plans in accordance with the information provided is up to each individual.

 

3.2. Thus, although this Travel Alert is thoroughly prepared, it is merely informative and does not constitute a guarantee of safety.

 

4. Concepts and typology

4.1. Concepts

4.1.1. Crisis situation: An abnormal situation resulting from a serious event or a conflict of interests whereby society recognizes a danger, risk or threat to national interests which are important or vital that imply the need for urgent decisions, immediate action and the application of appropriate means so as to restore the initial state or to safeguard these interests.

 

4.1.2. Threat: An adverse event with potential to cause a disaster and to which a certain probability of occurrence and magnitude is associated. A threat may be natural, technological or human-caused.

 

4.1.3. Technological Accident: Sudden and unplanned occurrence caused by human activity that causes serious damage to mankind and the environment. It can manifest itself such as a chemical or nuclear accident.

 

4.1.4. Risk: The possibility of loss of human life, property or productive capacity when these elements are exposed to a destructive event. The level of risk depends on the vulnerability of the elements exposed to a hazard.

 

4.1.5. Natural risk: Danger that threatens human lives, goods or productive capacity due to a natural phenomenon.

 

4.1.6. Anthropic risk: Danger that threatens human lives, goods or productive capacity due to human intervention.

 

4.1.7. Technological risk: When the danger results from the neglect of safety standards and principles that not only govern production, transportation and storage but also the handling of products or the use of technology.

 

4.1.8 Personal safety: When  physical, mental or moral damage may result from the phenomenon.

 

4.2. Typology of incident risks that pose a collective threat

Taking into account the practice of the existing system at national level, the risks of collective threat incidents are divided into the following groups:

 

4.2.1. Natural catastrophe: This group includes the drought, typhoon, cold front, heat wave, thunderstorm and lightning, dry haze, hail, fog, gale force winds, sandstorm, volcanic eruption , earthquake, mountain landslide, landslides, debris flow, storm surges, tsunamis, forest fire, etc.

 

4.2.2. Accident: The accidents that are included in this group are those occuring in air transportaion, in rail transportation, in motorways, in maritime transporation, in the mining industry, in civil construction, in public places or establishments, in places or establishments of professional activities, in the supply water, electricity, gas or oil and oil products, telecommunications services, cybernetics, safety in special equipment, pollution of the environment and ecological damage, etc.

 

4.2.3. Public health: This group includes the occurrence of epidemics, collective contamination of unidentified diseases, food safety, occupational risk and other serious threats to public health.

 

4.2.4. Public security: This group includes events such as terrorist acts and attacks, threats to the security of the economy and others from external factors.

 

5. Alert levels

5.1 Establishing the alert levels

5.1.1. Travel Alerts may focus on diverse types of occurrences that can range from natural to man-made origins, including but not limited to adverse meteorological conditions, safety, political unrest or issues related to public health.

 

5.1.2. To each type of event a corresponding set of conditions are defined through levels in order to ease their identification and indicate the preventive and protection measures associated with them. These levels are established preventively and progressively as the situation and degree of risk evolves.

 

5.1.3. Establishing alert levels allows each one of them to be associated with a set of specific protective measures that are to be disseminated to the population according to each situation.

 

5.1.4.Taking into account the scenario in a potential travel destination, the MSAR establishes the following Travel Alert System, categorized into three different levels, identified through the numbers 1, 2, 3 and are depicted in the below Table – 1.

 

Alert Levels Table

Level Scenario Protective Measures

EXTREME THREAT


Avoid travel: Presence of an extreme threat to personal safety. Macao residents planning to travel to or in that destination should be aware of the severe situation and limits on official assistance that can be provided there. It is advised to avoid travelling to and, in some cases, leave the destination.

ELEVATED THREAT

Reconsider non-essential travel: The threat to personal safety is elevated. Macao residents planning to travel to or in that destination should reconsider the need to travel at this time. It is suggested to avoid non-essential travel to the destination. 

A THREAT HAS EMERGED

Exercise caution: There is an imminent threat to personal safety. Macao residents planning to travel to or in that destination should be alert and vigilant towards own safety. It is suggested to exercise caution and monitor development that might affect personal safety.

 

5.2 Determining an alert level

In order to determine the level of alert to be issued, the type of risk or threat, the consequences that might result from the damage as well as the likelihood of aggravation will be taken into account. Thus, each alert level is associated with a set of indicators according to the specific situation, as described below:

 

5.2.1 Alert Level 1 - A threat has emerged

Situations in which:

  • There is minimal disruption to the destination, safety of the tourists and of the services provided to them;

  • Situation ranging from none to some financial loss; 

  • Media coverage and public interest ranging from none to some;

  • Guidelines are passed on by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China or/and advised by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China.

 

5.2.2. Alert Level 2 - Elevated threat

Situations in which:

  • There is a large disruption of services for visitors in a destination, usually for a period of at least 24 hours;
  • There are noticeable financial losses by the tourist community and industry;
  • Signs of  fear, anger and frustration emanating from visitors and disseminated through the media, affecting the public opinion;

  • Criticism from the media and public of a certain destination;

  • Guidelines are passed on by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China or/and advised by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China.

 

5.2.3. Alert Level 3 - Extreme threat

Situations in which:

  • There is a disruption of services for tourists such as communications and public transportations;

  • Destination is unable to provide basic security needs for tourists, Macao residents and the media;

  • Incidents leading to severe financial losses, demanding  long periods of recovery;

  • There is fear, anger and frustration (physical and mental) felt by visitors and disseminated by the media, affecting public opinion;

  • Guidelines are passed on by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China or/and advised by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China.

 

6. Issuing, canceling, increasing or lowering an alert

Notwithstanding that which was previously mentioned, when evaluating the need to issue, cancel, increase or lowering an a travel alert, among other factors, the following shall be taken into account: the actual situation, the degree of threat to personal safety, the duration of the event, if the affected site is a travel destination sought after by Macao residents, if tourists are threatened and if any travel alert was issued by official entities from Mainland China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other regions neighboring countries.

 

7. Dissemination of the Travel Alert information

After the confirmation of the issue or cancelation of a Travel Alert, the information will be disseminated in the form of a press release distributed through the "IBS" system of the Government Information Bureau and on the GGCT website. Simultaneously, the Tourism Hotline will also be alerted.

 

8. List of countries part of the Travel Alert System

The list of countries or destinations of the Travel Alert System will be published in the website of the Tourism Crisis Management Office