SPAIN, Travel Advisory

Sep 2nd, 2001, 10:15 AM
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SPAIN, Travel Advisory

A powerful car bomb damaged more than 100 vechicles at Madrid's international airport last week, the third terrorist attack in a month and apparently aimed at Spain's tourist industry. Last month, hundreds of tourists were evacuated just before a large car bomb went off in a hotel parking lot in the resort of Cabo Salou, 55 miles south of Barcelona. And at the end of July, experts defused a bomb at the Malaga airport. In all three cases, anonymous calls gave police time to clear the areas. The bombs were attributed to Basque separatists, who have threatened to target tourism in Spain.
Sep 2nd, 2001, 02:48 PM
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BOMBINGS IN SPAIN. Isn't this important to anyone?
Sep 2nd, 2001, 04:08 PM
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The ETA terrorists have not caused injury to any tourist to-date, and more than 30 million tourists visit Spain every year! They always call police to warn of bomb to allow area to be cleared.
Several major terrorist cells have been dismantled by Spanish police in recent weeks, and the terrorists captured are singing like canaries!
Sep 2nd, 2001, 05:06 PM
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But doesn't it at least make you think maybe we'll NOT do Spain this year? I mean, car bombs aren't going off in Paris's and Rome's airports.
I understand there's a kind of sparring going on on this board regarding the safety of Spain (and I've gone to Spain at least once knowing there were things going on that might be dangerous), but, heck, if you're about to spend a few thousand dollars on a vacation, why not spend it in a place where nightly news isn't broadcasting bombings?
Apologies to all who live in and love Spain. Sure, the likelihood of a tourist being caught up in one of these incidents is minimal, but put it together with the very real threat of pickpocketing and other petty crime, and Spain simply isn't a terribly desirable destination these days.
I'll sit back now and wait for all the Spain-lovers to respond. And hey, I love your country - I just think it poses more risks for travelers than some others.
Sep 2nd, 2001, 05:08 PM
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....that a messageboard like this is an excellent way for a political group to achieve their objective, namely, to frighten tourists away from the country in which said political group is active.
Sep 2nd, 2001, 05:19 PM
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Have you read our own American newspapers lately? The way you people talk about Spain you'd think that everyone was mugging each other, raping anything that walked and then blowing them up! For god sake! Ask a European about guns in America and you will really get a lecture!

If you are so afraid of all this why even leave home?

Spain is a wonderful country filled with friendly people, good food and beautiful scenery!
Sep 2nd, 2001, 05:41 PM
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YES, Spain IS a wonderful country filled with friendly people, good food and beautiful scenery!

BUT it is also a country that's getting a lot of press about bombings and crime that might well affect an American's decision to travel there. For the average American tourist to Europe who has XXX amount of dollars to spend, I should think contemplating spending them on a country that's getting this kind of press should have an impact. That's all. Countries have to have good PR to attract tourism, you know, and car bombs at rental car agencies don't go far to further the PR effort.Spain desperately needs some good PR, and unfortunately it isn't getting it these days.

Sep 2nd, 2001, 05:55 PM
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The Corsicans were busy placing bombs and killing people when I was in France two weeks ago.

In fact, I was at Gare du Nord on August 17th. There were repeated messages about the owner of a blue suitcase picking it up. Then there was a HUGE explosion. I mean HUGE. I have no idea whether the police blew up the suitcase or it blew itself up because there was no announcement.

There was nothing in the newspaper about it the following day--and I was told that often nothing is printed by design unless someone is hurt.

So, I guess, if we are worried about our safety, perhaps we should stay barricaded in our houses. Perhaps, however, there will be a gas line break and our houses will blow up.

What to do? Either we can travel anyway and take our chances or stay home and be unnecessarily paranoid.
Sep 2nd, 2001, 06:25 PM
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I like to read factual information on the Fodor's site, not silly stuff about pink running suits.

This information does not necessarily tell you to stay away from Spain. It might just help someone decide where to go. I don't believe anyone said anything about Spain not being beautiful, just what is happening there now.

Almost everything in life has a risk to reward ratio. This information might be helpful to someone to decide whether this is the best time to visit Spain.
Sep 3rd, 2001, 06:03 AM
Jean Valjean
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I am sure that most people here have seen the US State department's "Travel Warning and Consular Info Sheets". If you haven't, they are available at

These "Info Sheets" are quite informative (though a bit paranoid, IMHO), and there's one for every country on earth.

People who have seen them must be aware that each country may have three different kinds of "sheets":

1. The info sheet itself, where it details many different aspects of each country.
2. Public announcements, where any particular, low-risk situation or condition is detailed and explained.
3. Travel warning, where a high-risk situation is detailed. A country with a travel warning can be deemed "unvisitable".

Spain only has an info sheet.

This is what it says about safety and crime:

"SAFETY AND SECURITY: The ETA Basque terrorist organization remains active in Spain. ETA efforts have historically been directed against police, military, and other Spanish government targets. Since November 1999 ETA has conducted scores of attacks, resulting in over two dozen deaths. In March 2001, ETA issued a communique announcing its intention to target Spanish tourist areas. While ETA has targeted tourist areas in the past, the size and the location of past bombings suggest that they were not intended to cause serious injury. Since 1999, a smaller Marxist group, GRAPO, has mounted several attacks, and has killed three people. Americans have not been the specific targets of the attacks of either of these groups.

CRIME: While most of Spain has a low rate of violent crime, the principal tourist areas are experiencing increasing crime directed against tourists. Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, have reported a growing incidence of muggings by gangs brandishing weapons and/or using force. Travelers using public transportation should be alert to the potential for muggings or pickpocketings. Crimes such as pickpocketing, robbery, and theft from cars are frequent, and scams are often employed. For example, thieves often attempt to distract their victims by squirting mustard on their clothing, asking for directions on the street, or otherwise diverting attention from an accomplice. Thefts of small items like radios, luggage, camera or briefcases from parked cars are a common problem. Roadside thieves posing as "Good Samaritans" to persons experiencing car and tire problems typically attempt to divert the driver's attention by pointing out a mechanical problem, and then steal items from the vehicle while the driver is looking elsewhere. Drivers should be extremely cautious about accepting help from anyone other than a uniformed Spanish police officer or Civil Guard. Travelers who accept unofficial assistance are advised to protect their valuables by keeping them in sight or locking them in the vehicle."

BTW, most European countries have simmilar warnings.
Sep 3rd, 2001, 07:04 AM
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Just a correction to my previous post: The explosion I heard occurred on August 19th, not the 17th. It was about 4:30pm and it was when we were waiting for a train to take my daughter back to Germany to start her job.

In general, it is "heads up" wherever you go. There are terrorists all over--including in the US. By all means, do not touch any untended suitcases. Call the police.
Sep 3rd, 2001, 07:09 AM
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just testing
Sep 3rd, 2001, 07:10 AM
Jean Valjean
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From the UK consular info sheet:

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The United Kingdom is stable and modern. Political demonstrations are well policed and, except at times in Northern Ireland, generally orderly. There is, however, a history of terrorist violence related to the political situation in Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom).

Numerous incidents of terrorist violence have occurred throughout England and Northern Ireland. U.S. citizens have not been specifically targeted, but some have been injured when caught up in disturbances. In the last year, a major suburban London bridge was damaged by a bomb, various explosions occurred in high-density London neighborhoods, and an explosive device discovered on a London subway line caused major public transport delays.

In recent years, there has been widespread civil unrest throughout Northern Ireland during the summer marching season (April to August). As a result, American citizens traveling in Northern Ireland have experienced delays and disruption. Some degree of civil unrest may continue for the foreseeable future.

During the fall of 2000, fuel refinery blockades by the transport industry caused fuel shortages that curtailed emergency services, public transport (including airlines) and slowed or halted distribution of food and other vital commodities. Gas pump lines caused major traffic jams throughout the U.K. Further protest and resultant disruptions - even to tourists - cannot be ruled out if there is continued concern about high fuel prices.

CRIME: While the United Kingdom and Gibraltar benefit from generally low crime rates, The U.K. has recently experienced an increase in crime, including crimes involving violence. Incidents of pickpocketing, muggings, "snatch and grab" thefts of watches and jewelry and theft of unattended bags are extremely common. According to U.K. government reports, these have increased significantly over the last year.

Pickpockets target tourists, especially at historic sites, restaurants, on buses, trains and the London Underground (subway). Thieves often target unattended cars parked at tourist sites. In London, travelers should use only licensed "black taxi cabs" or car services recommended by their hotel or tour operator. Unlicensed taxis or private cars posing as taxis may offer low fares, but are often uninsured and may have unlicensed drivers. In some instances, travelers have been robbed while using these cars.

Due to the circumstances described above, visitors should take steps to ensure the safety of their U.S. passports. Visitors in England, Scotland and Wales are not expected to produce identity documents for police authorities and thus may secure their passports in hotel safes or residences. In Northern Ireland, however, passports or other photographic I.D. should be carried at all times. The need to carry a passport to cash Travelers Checks is also minimized by an abundance of ATMís able to access systems widely used in the U.S. and offering more favorable rates of exchange.

Sep 4th, 2001, 01:01 AM
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The probability of a tourist being injured by a terrorist bomb in Spain is less than the likelihood that your intercontinental flight will go down in the ocean!
Therefor those posters who are so afraid for their safety should stay home behind locked doors!
Almost every large city in the world has its share of pickpockets & muggers, especially preying on naive tourists.
Sep 4th, 2001, 02:15 AM
scott i.
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We just returned from a 10 day trip to Spain travelling from Madrid, Toledo, Seville, and Marbella. We felt extremely safe the entire time and did not witness any petty crime whatsoever.(We were also travelling with our 2 children) The Spanish people were extremely friendly, warm, and open. We were in Spain when the bomb went off at Barajas airport, however that can occur anywhere you travel.
Do not miss out on this wonderful country and do not let the messages on various message boards deter you from planning a trip to Spain!!

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