The Missing Americans Project

Looking for People and Answers

The Travel-Intel Gap: How Government & Media Fail Travelers

No government keeps credible or reliable track of how many of its citizens disappear while traveling abroad annually or how many foreign nationals disappear while traveling in its country. This information deficit has major implications for the global traveling public. In the absence of timely, credible news, data, and analysis, how can travelers make informed decisions? How can media contextualize “missing abroad” stories as to whether they are anomalies or symptoms of a larger problem? How can governments craft policies accurately reflect threats to their citizens?

Please take a moment to read my most recent contribution to Shatter the Looking Glass.

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Comment by KL on December 10, 2013 at 10:22pm

Jeff - well I think that your Web page is the "right solution at the right time".  You are correct that a lot of facts are buried in bureaucracy at the State Department, and many departments like it in foreign countries.  In addition, you may not know this but professionals in the security industry also have a lot of useful knowledge - but that too is compartentalized into private reports because of confidentiality concerns.  Likewise there are police reports around the globe that have extensive material, but are inaccessible to the public.  So the only logical solution is the one you propose - let the global community work together to solve this problem.  I think you will find that your Web page grows quite quickly, in terms of reports - and also access by many different types of readers (incl. travelers, family members, and professionals).  Good luck - and great job getting the ball rolling!  KL, Los Angeles

Comment by Jeff Dunsavage on December 10, 2013 at 8:45pm

KL: Yes indeed. That we don't now how big the problem is IS a big part of the problem. Only the families who struggle through it alone have any clue. My family has been there, which is why we started MAP.


Comment by KL on December 10, 2013 at 8:19pm

That's a very good point Jeff. AndI believe you are right - nobody actually matches up the data on global travelers to verify that they returned home safely.  Every mishap is handled (or not handled as the case may be) on an individual basis.  So not only are the total numbers of accidents and "missing persons" incidents difficult to assess ... but also any trends buried in the data are also lost.  It's very unfortunate, and it allows all kinds of misconceptions to exist in the tourism business.  KL, Los Angeles

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