Anne Majumdar

Rallies continue to protest shootings by police across the US, with the wave of unrest prompting some countries to issue warnings to their citizens travelling in or to the destination.

Just last month, KarryOn identified safety concerns as among potential obstacles to continued tourism growth for the US as its gun control issues continued to dominate the media.

Since then, the situation appears to have worsened. Last week, police killed Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana – both black men seemingly innocent of any wrongdoing and legally carrying firearms.

These murders are symptoms of far wider issues.  A Guardian investigation revealed the rate of death of young black men at the hands of US police officers in 2015 was five times higher than that of their white counterparts and nine times more likely than other Americans in general.

Tensions have long been bubbling, but the country now finds itself at a tipping point in terms of race relations, with these latest killings sparking a wave of protest across the US. More than 300 people were arrested during demonstrations over the weekend in New York and Chicago. Major protests were also held in London at the weekend.

At a Dallas protest on Thursday, a lone gunman shot five police officers dead.

US gun policies once again face intense criticism with people desperately questioning if something will ever be done about the escalating problem.

In the meantime, travellers may well be reconsidering travel to the destination, particularly those from countries that have warned their citizens to stay on guard when visiting certain US cities.

The Australian Government’s Smartraveller website simply advises travellers to “exercise normal safety precautions”. It acknowledges high levels of violent crime and mass shootings in the US, but stresses these incidents “rarely” involve tourists.

However, other countries, including New Zealand, have urged their citizens to practice caution.

Bahrain’s US embassy made the warning via Twitter, asking citizens of the Middle Eastern country to “be cautious of protests or crowded areas occurring around the US”.

The United Arab Emirates embassy issued a statement urging its students and citizens in the US to “be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places when possible”.

“Exercise particular caution during large festivals or events, be alert and stay safe,” it said.

Meanwhile, Bahamas issued a travel advisory to its citizens, more than 90% of whom are black, recommending they take care when visiting those US cities impacted by the “shootings of young black males by police officers”.

“In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police,” it said.

“Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”

Travellers being warned of the dangers of a spiralling gun problem and of interacting with law enforcement services is definitely not a good look for the US and a sad reflection of the mess it finds itself in. Tourism operators will no doubt be hoping for a swift resolution to minimise any damage to the country’s tourism industry.

Would you reconsider travel to the US due to safety concerns?