Government travel alerts, advisories and updates are used by leisure travellers, insurance companies and even businesses.
We have been conducting an ongoing study and analysis of the efficiency, effectiveness and usefulness of the Australian Government’s “Smartraveller” system and notifications.
Smartraveller prompts Australian citizens to “be informed” and “be prepared”.
Therefore, we investigate the efficiency, effectiveness and usefulness of these claims via safety, security and risk management theory, science and established practices.
Our experts have been monitoring all the government’s published updates and alerts from January 2015 until May 2019.
This represents a 51-month study and analysis.
During this time, we recorded 1,978 individual travel updates and notifications from the Smartraveller system.
As a result, our team have more than just a passing view or superficial knowledge of the subject.
Actually, you could say that we pioneered the government’s annual reporting and insights.
We have been tracking and analysing Australian travel statistics, assistance, deaths and injuries since 2006.
We published our first Australian Traveller Risk infographic in 2012, a full 3 years before the Australian Government published their first Consular State of Play report.
You can see some of the data and formatting we first requested the collect.
Back when the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had to ask each embassy and overseas mission, individually, for the travel risk management data specific to that country.
Their data from a back in 2012 looks far less aesthetically appealing than it does today.
Let’s examine the 2017 to 2018 statistics published in relation to the Smartraveller trips, usage, assistance and deaths.
The top 5 countries visited on their website, from the 20 million hits, were; Indonesia; Vietnam; the United States; Thailand; and Japan.
The top 10 destinations for Australian travellers were: New Zealand; Indonesia; the United States; the United Kingdom; Thailand; China; Japan; Singapore; India; and Fiji.
The top 5 countries where requests for assistance occurred were: Thailand; the United States; Indonesia; the Philippines; and China.
The top 5 countries where Australian’s died in 2018 were: Thailand; the Philippines; Indonesia; the United States; and Vietnam.
These are the baseline statistics and evidence used throughout our analysis.
In order to better understand objectives, patterns, relevance, we then disected the 1,978 notifications over 51 months to identify and evaluate the results.
The countries with some of the lowest updates, alerts and notifications were: Brunei, East Timor; Canada; Singapore; and Hong Kong.
Over a 4.3 year period, only 5 to 16 updates, alerts and notifications were published.
The countries with some of the highest updates, alerts and notifications were: Indonesia; the United States; the Philippines; Turkey; and France.
Over a 4.3 year period, 63 to 25 updates, alerts and notifications were published.
Terrorism, as a specific topic, was updated or reported 49 times over 4.3 years.
Countries in the middle of the data set, were; Saudi Arabia; Afghanistan; the United Arab Emirates; Iraq; and Somalia.
Over a 4.3 year period, only 18 to 11 updates, alerts and notifications were published.
The data now guides and inform us.
It also reveals focus, patterns from which we can assess effectiveness.
Thailand accounts for the highest numbers of Australian deaths abroad and 30% of assistance requests from the top 5 countries.
However, Thailand specific notifications and alerts only totalled 22 over 4.3 years, just on 1.1% of all updates and notifications from the 48 countries we cross-referenced the data with.
Notifications to traveller volume over a 1 year period were 0.0005%.
Indonesia accounted for 3.19% of all compared notifications and updates, topping the data set for all country notifications on volume, at 63.
Yet it is clearly not the top destination for travel, assistance nor deaths.
The United States accounts for 2.22% of all the inclusive notifications and alerts.
Third in the highest volumes of notifications, second only to terrorism as a topic, which is not a country.
Third for total country notifications and alerts is the Philippines, with 36 notifications over 4.3 years, representing 1.82% of total related volume.
51% of all Australians that travel to Japan, check the Smartraveller website, based on 2018 data.
This represents nearly a quarter of a million Australians in 2018, which is larger than Australia’s 13th biggest city.
However, Japan is seventh in the top 10 travel destinations, doesn’t rank for top assistance locations or places to die for Australians and accounted for 0.76% of identified government travel notifications and updates over a 4.3 year period.
France, the United Kingdom, Fiji and the United States have all individually had more government travel alerts, notifications and updates than either Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Our experts cannot identify any specific, consistent, efficient, effective or scientific system within the data that supports a valid travel safety metric.
Our experts cannot identify any specific, consistent, efficient, effective or scientific system within the data that supports a valid travel security metric.
Our experts cannot identify any specific, consistent, efficient, effective or scientific system within the data that supports a valid travel risk mitigation or management metric.
The Smartraveller system appears to be a highly judgement and value-laden process, not clearly apparent to our experts or disclosed to consumers nor based on any identifiable, consistent or scientific risk models.
Based on the data, science and results, we could not consider the Smartraveller system a valid travel safety, security or risk management system.
Therefore, based on the data, science and results we do not consider the Smartraveller system an efficient, effective or useful resource for business or leisure travel.
At best, the system is comparable to a news or media reporting system.
It is therefore not “fit for purpose” for safety, security or risk management purposes.
We don’t view Facebook or Twitter Followers as a safety, security or risk management metric.
We hope you found this study and analysis helpful.
Our evidence-based decision making and enterprise security risk management practices are derived from technical, academic and scientific research, refined by practical application.
Intelligent business decisions based on verifiable and analysed data and research.
Thank you for watching.