Vietnam among countries with lowest travel security risks

State Department overhauls travel advisory method

Ranking Pakistan on Level 3, the State Department asked Americans to reconsider travel to this country due to terrorism.

Popular destinations for US travelers such as Mexico, France and the United Kingdom register a 2, "exercise increased caution", while countries including Cuba, Turkey, and Russian Federation have been given level 3, "reconsider travel".

"US citizens who travel overseas should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations", the advisory said.

Level Four is for countries with a "greater likelihood of life-threatening risks" in which the USA government may be very limited in its ability to help. It also listed many regions in the country, such as Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), under the most unsafe Level 4 category.

The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials, it added.

Over the past six months, there have been at least 40 significant terrorist attacks across Pakistan, resulting in over 225 deaths and 475 wounded. "In the past, there have been large-scale terrorist attacks resulting in hundreds of casualties", highlighted the federal executive department.

"Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism". The state department blamed crime and terrorism for the increased level of caution advised to its travelers.

How does the rest of the world rank?

Countries on Level 4 are Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, North Korea, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

The Department of State does not recommend travelling to Level 4 category countries.

More news: Cold temperatures won't leave central Pa. this weekend

Officials insisted the change was to make advice clearer to USA travelers, but the travel warning system has always been controversial and often offends foreign capitals.

"So it's going to be very obvious", Bernier-Toth said.

The new rankings replace the vague and often confusing system of issuing "travel alerts" for short-term dangers posed by events such as epidemics or mass protests, and "travel warnings" for long-standing concerns such as armed conflict or political instability.

Officials insisted the change was to make advice clearer to United States citizens that plan to travel.

The Consular Section at the US Embassy Athens tweeted Wednesday "the rating should have American tourists packing their bags to come".

In September, the agency stated in a travel warning that, "numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks", suffering "significant injuries as a effect of these attacks".

Western European capitals, for example, while prosperous and politically stable, have seen recent attacks by Islamist militants in areas popular with tourists.

"We do not give foreign governments the ability to change the language", she noted.

The United States itself is not rated in the new system.

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