More people than ever are contacting Switzerland’s official helpline for consular services and travel advice. In July alone, there were more than 7,000 calls and emails.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) attributes the increase to concerns about terrorism. After July’s terrorist attack in Nice, France – which killed three people resident in Switzerland – many people called the helpline looking for information on loved ones.
In particular, the helpline offers travel bulletins regarding the safety situation abroad, contact information for foreign embassies and consulates, support for getting consular protection in an emergency, and advice on living abroad.
The number of calls and emails has more than quadrupled since the helpline was created in 2011. In July 2016, the helpline fielded 7,214 requests – considerably more than in any other month to date.
In addition to the helpline, the free itineris app offers Swiss nationals the opportunity to register when travelling abroad. This makes it easier for the FDFA to locate and contact people in the event of a crisis. Some 72,000 people are registered with itineris. According to the FDFA, most of them are currently in the United States, Turkey and Thailand.