A client of our travel agency was robbed at gun point while on vacation. Our agency is in danger of being sued for failing to warn about the risk of robbery. The State Department advised against walking alone in the city where the crime occurred because of the crime advisory. The client's attorney claims that we had a legal duty to warn about the risk of robbery, even though we had no idea about it. Are you in agreement?
The attorney's position is nonsensical. Every State Department travel advisory has risks and no travel advisor can be expected to know about them.
There are reports on over 200 countries on the travel website. Each country has a rating from 1 to 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. To commit all this information to memory would be impossible because the levels can change within a country.
The duty of a travel advisor to warn about destination risks is more limited than the client claims. It applies to destination risks that are known to the travel advisor or should be known to the travel advisor based on what has appeared in the trade press.
The travel advisor needs to tell the trade press about the State Department travel advisories. The advisor has no obligation to warn the client if the trade press has not covered the danger.
There are three exceptions to the advisor's duty to reveal.
The risk needs to be non obvious. You should not leave your jewelry in an unlocked room safe on a low-crime island.
The second exception is when the risk is widely reported in the general media so that the client knows about it. You wouldn't have to tell a client about the situation if the newspapers had reported on the volcanic ash.
The role of the advisor is to fulfill or carry out the instructions of the client and there is no duty to warn where the client already knows what they want. In business travel, the client wants you to book the first flight tomorrow to Mexico City, and the last flight the next day. The advisor has no legal duty to warn about crime in Mexico because the client doesn't expect it.