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Curious How Tourists Stay Safe at the Winter Olympics?

It’s bad enough that visitors at the 2018 Olympic games have to cope with the threat of modern terrorism, and adding nuclear tensions in the region makes you wonder why anyone would risk going there. But going to the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and such an event is always at the top of the list for terrorists looking for the ultimate target. It’s no surprise the security at the 2018 winter games in Pyeongchang is nothing less than a mammoth undertaking.

Unprecedented Security

Federal authorities say security at the 2018 Olympics was almost double what it was during the 2016 games in Rio, Brazil. About 60,000 South Korean personnel were assigned to look for security threats and be ready to mobilize immediately for an incident. Drones and more than 800 security cameras were deployed around the venue with the addition of anti-kidnapping squads and special forces ready at the wings. Security officials say the drones are capable of taking a bomb-carrying drone out of the air, and they were similar to ones deployed during the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

Tourism Safety in the Age of Cyber Terrorism

The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning ahead of time to Americans going to the Olympics that cybercriminals were certain to be targeting the Games. The Olympic Committee set up a command center staffed with security experts from around the world to monitor threats. The most urgent were from North Korea that had been probing South Korean networks for years. There was also a concern of Russian hackers retaliating for the ban on Russian athletes because of doping allegations.

Cyberterrorism is not so much of a threat for people there to watch the games. However, among concerns with organizers was the threat of a hacker shutting off all the lights during an event. An incident like this could cause mass panic, and even play a part in the orchestration of a terror attack.  Since last year’s massacre in Las Vegas, people attending any public event of such a grand scale should have a plan conceived and ready to execute in the event of a sudden eruption of terror and chaos.

International Safety Tips

You should always have safety precautions at the top of your list before traveling to a foreign country. Before planning a trip, it’s a good idea to check with the U.S. Department of State to see if there are any threat advisories or warnings where you are going.  The State Department issues travel warnings during times of extreme civil unrest, terrorist activity or other dangerous conditions. They’ll issue a travel alert if there are any short-term situations that could present a risk or travel disruption.

Make sure you have contact information readily available for any local government offices, particularly an American embassy in the country of your destination. Buying travel insurance is also a good idea. Most policies will reimburse you for non-refundable travel expenses if an incident or development at your destination makes you want to cancel or postpone your trip. Most policies also provide assistance like a 24/7 hotline and help a with a plan for evacuation.