Friday 9 October 2009

New Australian Technology Relays Crucial Safety Alerts To Travellers In Earthquake Hit Vanuatu, Indonesia And Other Danger Spots

Australians in Vanuatu – which was hit by a major 8.1 earthquake this morning - could be immediately informed on the latest situation, and located, if linked to the new cutting edge IT technology ‘Travel Messenger’ which relays vital security updates via SMS messages to their mobile phone.

“I believe the Government has not been able to contact some of the Australians in the area; if they were linked to Travel Messenger their location would be immediately known,” Mark McCormack, CEO of Loop9, the Melbourne-based company that developed the technology said.

McCormack said Australians travelling in earthquake hit Indonesia and typhoon devastated Philippines last week were kept totally informed with up to the minute alerts text to their mobile phone outlining the latest developments.

“The region of Indonesia which was hit by a succession of earthquakes is a popular surfing destination for many Australians, so it was vital for them to receive accurate updates on how the situation was unfolding,” Mark McCormack, CEO of Loop9, the Melbourne-based company that developed the technology, said.

McCormack said within 15 minutes of each of the earthquakes occurring, Travel Messenger subscribers were kept constantly informed on the unfolding drama, especially in context of their safety.

“Similarly the Philippines, with the Super Typhoon Parma wreaking havoc across the country. Ongoing alerts on its force and direction were vital to someone’s safety and could very well mean the difference between life and death; it is one of the most devastating and powerful typhoons to ever hit the region,” he said.

Examples of recent SMS alerts to Australian subscribers’ mobiles:

8 October- an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 has struck north east of the Vanuatu island of Santo. A Tsunami warning is in effect. Move to higher ground and monitor local radio.

1 October 2009 – Travel Messenger Alert: INDONESIA – An earthquake with an initial magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale has struck near Southern Sumatra, Indonesia. A Tsunami alert has been issued for Sumatra. Move to higher ground.

2 October 2009 – Travel Messenger Alert: PHILIPPINES –Super Typhoon Parma continued to strengthen on 1 October 2009, as it tracks west north-west at 18mph/16kt. Parma is expected to make landfall near north-eastern Quirino and Isabela provinces on 3 October. Monitor local news and follow directions by security personnel.

2 October 2009 – Travel Messenger Alert: Bangkok THAILAND – members of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship, also known as ’red shirts’, announced on 1 October 2009 that they would hold a mass rally in Bangkok 17 October. Avoid large public gatherings and be alert to your own security.

2 October 2009 – Travel Messenger Alert: Rome, ITALY – Public transport workers in Rome are planning to participate in two strikes on 2 October 2009. Disruptions likely throughout the day.

3 October – Travel Messenger Alert: CHINA – National Day Golden Week holiday. (Commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China). Public holiday – government offices and businesses closed.

McCormack said the Travel Messenger SMS ‘Concierge’ Service covers over 200 countries and 3000 cities and has been accessible through major travel agency companies since mid last year.

“In just over 18 months of operations this technology has proven crucial to the safety of hundreds, if not thousands, of Australians caught up in dangerous situations overseas; it has proven itself time over as an invaluable security tool for travellers wherever they may be,” he said.

McCormack said that apart from vital security updates the Travel Messenger service also provides travellers with a host of travel-related information including weather forecasts, Australian Embassy contact details, police and taxi numbers, currency conversion, upcoming events and more. It also has an SMS translator in 15 languages that can help in directing a taxi or ordering in a restaurant.

“It is a multi-functional, vital service for any traveller and can provide great risk management for corporations and governments,” he said.

“Travel Messenger is available from travel agencies from $20 – a small investment in comparison to the safety and peace of mind it can offer.”

“Travel Messenger is available from travel agencies from $20 – a small investment in comparison to the safety and peace of mind it can offer.”

For further information visit

Travel Messenger™ is the flagship SMS 'concierge' service for international travellers available from travel agents. It provides up-to-the-minute travel information, tips and advice that travellers could require regarding flights, travel warnings, accommodation, currency exchange, weather, news, events and a translation option in 15 languages. Travel Messenger™ is the latest in travel information technology covering 200 countries and 3000 cities around the globe by Loop9 Pty Ltd.

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