Netherlands Travel Advisory

Sunset on a lake with boat and photographer Netherlands travel advisory

Sunset boat trip on Songkhla Lake

I took this picture last year on Songkhla Lake in Southern Thailand. The Dutch government advises against all travel to Songkhla. Since May 2018 I have been to Songkhla five times. I also travelled to the provinces Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala. Here you can find the report of my trip to the Deep South of Thailand in May 2018.

Finally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has blacklisted me. I have accused the team that is responsible for the travel advisories of being incompetent and guilty of spreading misinformation. I have also accused them of a lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism. They have not refuted my arguments.

Recently, I found out they deleted information from the travel advisories of Thailand and the Philippines after I had informed them that this information was wrong and outdated. I have done this often in the last 2,5 years, and I will continue to do this. They don’t answer my emails but are obviously still listening to me 😃.

My conflict with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs goes back to October 2017. With the help of Eelco Keij I wrote this article. I am afraid it is in Dutch….   In the period after publication, I often have been in touch with the responsible department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague. I only have found confirmation of my thoughts that are very similar to the above-mentioned accusations.

Who is responsible for the Netherlands Travel Advisory?

What is the situation? Embassies don’t have time anymore to be involved in travel advisories. The Ministry has given the responsibility for the travel advisories of 220 countries to a team of four (4! ) persons, based in the Hague. These people lack the time, the expertise and the experience to handle that responsibility. They are not to blame but should not have that responsibility, in my opinion.

The travel advisories are often one-sided, biased, inaccurate, outdated – always intransparent – and contain information of questionable quality. Many people take this information very seriously because it comes from the government. The government, therefore, should do the utmost to get it right for all stakeholders and they are not doing that. I have been in touch with the UNWTO about this issue, but this organisation appears to be ineffective.

The travel community and the countries themselves should also do much more to fight this kind of fake travel information coming from governments. I love my country and am often proud of the things we do. This is not one of them. Please stop damaging the reputation and economy of other countries and start giving accurate, transparent and updated information, based on local sources.

Three kids on a boat

Kids in the Philippines, a country of pickpockets and scam artists where you can’t walk safely on the streets during day time, according to the Dutch travel advisory.

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