Your organization is looking to expand into new international markets, and you’ve asked your team to travel to specific sites to meet with stakeholders. But before they take off, there's something crucial you need to consider — the regional threats that may await them at their destinations.

When planning a business trip, regional information must be current and come from trusted sources. If the region is experiencing high levels of unrest, violence, or corruption, it would seem like an easy decision to avoid that region. The truth is, it’s a lot more complicated. It’s business, after all, and sometimes travel is necessary. And so is a corporate travel risk assessment. You need to ask some vital questions:

  • How long has the conflict been going on? Is it rising or waning?
  • What are the root issues?
  • How are the government and local security forces handling the political unrest?
  • What is the regional crime risk?
  • What is the risk of kidnapping?
  • How safe is it for foreigners?
  • How do I keep my key personnel safe when they travel to this region?

But this isn’t the only information you need to know when conducting a risk assessment for business travel.

To answer these questions and more, we recommend seeking out security experts who know the region and can effectively analyze and anticipate threats based on the latest intelligence.

That's where Pinkerton's Travel Threat Analysis Reports step in. With more than 170 years of experience in more than 100 countries, Pinkerton’s pre-travel risk assessments are in-depth reports that highlight various aspects that could affect corporate travel, including the unique risks posed by terrorism, political upheavals, civil unrest, crime rates, natural disasters, and more. The report also includes recommendations for travelers as well as travel-related information, such as emergency contacts or public transportation.

This knowledge can help organizations and their key personnel traveling abroad make informed decisions and navigate their journeys with confidence and security.

Pinkerton's Tailored Threat Analysis Helps Simplify Global Travel Security

Ensuring the safety of employees traveling to high-risk destinations is paramount for any organization. For one financial firm, the task was not taken lightly. The organization reached out to Pinkerton for a critical mission: to conduct international travel risk assessments that could affect some 150 corporate travelers in 17 destination countries, most of which were high-risk emerging economies. The client wanted to incorporate the information into their broader travel security program.

For one financial firm, the task was not taken lightly.

Pinkerton Threat Analysis Reports are invaluable for organizations operating internationally, offering a deep dive into the level of risk and potential danger that travelers may face at a particular location.

We determine threat levels by analyzing the severity of past events and potential future incidents together with the likelihood of their occurrence. This analysis is based on risk index data, open-source intelligence, local and national data, and information from the Pinkerton Vigilance Network. The threat levels are aligned with FEMA CAP standards, guaranteeing they are reliable and internationally recognized.

Pinkerton’s Travel Threat Analysis reports are holistic, quantitative, and qualitative, based on the most up-to-date and reliable information available in nine key areas. Additionally, the reports provide recommendations to travelers in each of the key areas, such as what to do in case of a terrorist attack, health crisis, or natural disaster. Reports also include other travel-related information, emergency contacts, and local embassy locations.

Terrorism and Corporate Travel

Understanding the current state of terrorism in a particular region is critical. It equips travelers with essential information on recent attacks, the presence of extremist groups, and the counterterrorism efforts in place at their destination. It also allows organizations to assess the risk of their employees being caught in a terrorist incident and take necessary precautions, such as avoiding high-risk areas or adding personnel protection or security drivers.

Analyzing Local Crime

The analysis of local crime trends and common illicit activities offers travelers crucial insights into the safety of the places they visit. This information helps travelers take appropriate steps to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime. For example, they can be aware of common scams or theft hotspots and take extra precautions to safeguard their belongings. In some regions, business travelers are advised to not show signs of wealth at all and avoid wearing expensive watches or jewelry.

Kidnapping Risk

The threat of kidnapping is real in some parts of the world. Pinkerton’s Travel Threat Analysis Reports address this threat, providing information on recent kidnapping incidents and the motives behind them. The report also addresses any efforts being made by local security forces to combat this threat or how much the security forces will assist in personnel recovery if an event occurs. This information is crucial for corporate travelers, particularly those visiting regions where kidnapping is prevalent. It enables them to assess the risk and take preventive measures such as avoiding certain areas or hiring professional security personnel.

Navigating Civil Unrest

Statistics show that civil unrest or political demonstrations sharply increased in the last decade, and some 50% of countries have experienced either or both non-violent and violent protests since 2019. When travelers are aware of the threat of civil unrest, the underlying social or political issues that may trigger unrest, and the intensity of such events, they can avoid potential danger zones and remain vigilant during their stay at the destination city.

Social Considerations

When organizations are expanding their operations internationally, they should consider the local social landscape including cultural norms, local customs, laws, and regulations. When corporate travelers are well-informed of the intricacies of local behavior, they can avoid unintended disrespect to stakeholders or infractions that could lead to legal consequences. In some regions, for example, travelers are advised not to travel alone, and conversations concerning politics or potentially sensitive topics should be avoided.

Natural and Environmental Threats

When planning travel, it's important to be aware that natural disasters or environmental threats can vary greatly depending on both geographic region and time of year. Travelers need to be prepared and take necessary precautions. For example, someone visiting a coastal destination may need to be particularly cautious during hurricane season, while weather conditions like severe storms or heavy rainfall in another location could lead to landslides or flooding.

Poor air quality due to wildfires or pollution is another consideration for travelers with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

Travelers need to be prepared and take necessary precautions. Additionally, knowing the threat level is fundamental for creating emergency response plans and evacuation procedures should a critical situation arise.

Understanding the Local Health Landscape

Understanding the health landscape of various locations is vital to ensuring the safety and well-being of travelers. This includes information about access to medical services, prevalent diseases, immunization requirements, and any ongoing health crises. By being informed of such risks, individuals can take preventative measures by obtaining necessary vaccinations, packing appropriate medications, and adhering to recommended hygiene protocols to prevent illness. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, awareness of regional infection rates and health guidelines was essential for safe travel and contributed significantly to global containment efforts.

Working With Local Security Forces

Corporate travelers need to be aware of the effectiveness and capabilities of local security forces. This knowledge is essential in understanding the level of assistance they can expect from local authorities in case of emergencies or security threats. Similarly, travelers should be aware if local security forces themselves are a threat to foreigners — in the form of bribery requests, harassment, arrests, or interrogations. In some regions, corporate travelers are advised to keep all identification documents on them, even when conducting business.

Information Security

Corporate travelers often carry sensitive data and access organizational networks remotely from different parts of the world that, if compromised, could result in significant financial and reputational damage to their organization. During international trips, travelers need to know the cyber threats and comply with local data privacy laws. They also need to use secure communication channels, and cybersecurity measures are essential to protect devices from potential hacking attempts.

Knowing the threat levels is crucial for travelers as it helps them make informed decisions regarding their travel plans. By assessing the threat level, travelers can evaluate the level of risk associated with visiting a certain destination and take appropriate precautions or even reconsider their travel plans if necessary.

Tailoring Travel Security Programs with Actionable Intelligence from Pinkerton

Pinkerton's response to the financial firm's request was conducted per standard operating procedure. It was methodically researched and meticulously crafted. This resulted in a series of detailed travel threat analysis reports, which became the bedrock of a bespoke travel security program tailored to safeguard the organization's personnel, a program also offered as part of our Travel Risk Management services.

Pinkerton provided secure transit to some 150 of the organization’s travelers across 17 countries. Every journey was fortified by armed vehicles with security drivers trained for every contingency, coordinated airport pickups, and police escorts for night transports. Security briefings laid the groundwork for each trip, while continuous intelligence tracking provided real-time updates to ensure every move was as secure as the last. The payoff was immense. The financial firm built a strong and resilient international business without the stress of safety concerns.

The financial firm built a strong and resilient international business without the stress of safety concerns.

As the world expands and travel becomes ever more integral to business operations, the collaboration between Pinkerton and global organizations only continues to strengthen — with every successful trip marking another testament to Pinkerton’s dedication to excellence in travel security.  

Published January 24, 2024