Egypt Travel Warning

July 3, 2013 on 2:17 pm | In Egypt travel, Travel Safety, US Department of State, United Kingdom, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The current trouble in Egypt has caught the attention of the world. While this is clearly an interesting moment in Egyptian History, it is not the time to travel to Egypt. The governments of both the UK and US have issued travel warnings for Egypt, for good reason.

While we love Egypt and would travel there again if the situation was calm, we urge travelers to avoid the country now and until the current unrest is settled. We have some fear that the situation may remain unsettled for quite some time and suspect that travel in 2013 will show an incredible drop-off. What a shame for us and for the people of Egypt who depend on travel.

Here is an excerpt of the main text from the message issued by the U.S. Department of State. The full message can be found here.

July 3, 2013

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Egypt and U.S. citizens living in Egypt to depart at this time because of the continuing political and social unrest. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 28, 2013.
On July 3, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt due to the ongoing political and social unrest.

Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012 and the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, is likely to worsen in the near future due to unrest focused on the first anniversary of the President’s assumption of office. Demonstrations have, on occasion, degenerated into violent clashes between police and protesters, and between protesters supporting different factions, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. There are numerous reports of the use of firearms as well. While violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including downtown Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said, the security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, and Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, continues to be calm. Of specific concern is a rise in gender-based violence in and around protest areas where women have been the specific targets of sexual assault.

On June 28, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria. On May 9, a private U.S. citizen was attacked with a knife outside of the U.S. Embassy after being asked whether he was an American. Additionally, Westerners and U.S. citizens have occasionally been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security by knowing the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and the U.S. Embassy.

If you wish to depart Egypt, you should make plans and depart as soon as possible. The airport is open and commercial flights are still operating, although cancellations may occur. Travelers should check with their airlines prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. There are no plans for charter flights or other U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Egypt are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. Because of the proximity of the U.S. Embassy to Tahrir Square in Cairo, the U.S. Embassy has sometimes been closed to the public on short notice due to violent protests. The Embassy will notify U.S. citizens as quickly as possible of any closing and the types of emergency consular services that will be available. Should security forces block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizens Services section before attempting to come to the U.S. Embassy during that time. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to carry identification and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo. For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300.

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Costa Cruise Liner Runs Aground Off Italy’s West Coast

January 13, 2012 on 11:14 pm | In Italy, Italy travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, cruise travel, things travelers need to know, travel, travel alert, travel news | 4 Comments

The Costa Concordia Cruise liner ran aground on a sand bar near the Island “Isola del Giglio: off the west coast of Italy, killing six and endangering 3,000 passengers and a crew of 1,000. Several hundred remain on the aground, but severely listing boat. Several were injured during the rescue. For more information see this article by CNN

While looking for news about the boat, we ran across this promo for the Concordia in Costa’s US website. Next, you may find this description of the rescue posted on the Costa UK website to be of interest.

From Costa Cruises
Saturday, January 14th

Time 5.00 am
It is a tragedy that deeply affects our company. Our first thoughts go to the victims and we would like to express our condolences and our closeness to their families and friends. In this moment all our efforts are focused on the completion of the last emergency operations, besides providing assistance to the guests and the crew who were onboard in order to have them going back home as soon as possible. The emergency procedures started promptly to evacuate the ship. The slope, gradually taken over by the ship, made the evacuation extremely difficult. We would like to express our profound gratitude to the Coast Guard and all the forces co-ordinated by the Coast Guard, including the authorities and citizens of the island “Isola del Giglio”, who have been involved in the rescue and assistance to guests and crew members. The company will fully co-operate with the relevant Authorities in order to determine the causes of what happened.”

Time 1.00 am
Costa Cruises confirms the evacuation of about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members on board of the Costa Concordia. An incident occured near the island ‘Isola del Giglio’ of the coast of Italy. The evacuation started promptly, but the position of the ship has worsened, making it more complicated to complete the last part of the evacuation. At this moment, the cause of the incident cannot yet be confirmed. The Company is currently working with the highest commitment to provide all the needed assistance. The Costa Concordia was sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo. About 1.000 passengers of Italian nationality were onboard, as well as more of 500 Germans, about 160 French and about 1.000 crew members. ”

“The Guests had to embark today in Savona and in subsequent ports will be contacted directly by Costa Cruises.”

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Violence in Belgium

December 13, 2011 on 11:15 am | In Belgium travel, Terrorism and travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 3 Comments

Early today a gunman in Liege, Belgium attacked a bus stop with hand grenades and then began shooting with an automated rifle. The attacker took his own life, ending the terror on the streets of this popular town. Three were killed and 123 wounded or injured during the attack. The attack occurred at the Place St. Lambert, a hub for the city’s public transportation and the gateway for shopping within the city (including its seasonal Christmas Market). More details can be found at Reuters.

There is as of yet, no indication that this was anything other than the action of a deranged man with a history of violence and drug problems. Nevertheless, travelers should remain alert whenever traveling and be especially aware of their surroundings when visiting crowded shopping areas during holiday seasons.

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Torrential Rains in France and Italy

November 7, 2011 on 9:08 am | In France, France Travel, Italy, Italy travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel weather warning | 2 Comments

Seemingly unending rains have descended on parts of Europe, with France and Italy being especially hard hit. Many rivers are nearing flood stage and the problem has closed several noted attractions including Pompeii in southern Italy near Naples. Read this account of the action from Euronews for more details. Also, see this article by Reuters for more information on the rains in France.

Travelers in southern France, Italy or northern Spain should exercise extreme caution if visiting the affected areas. If possible, avoid driving in the areas of these countries having problems with flooding. If you are forced to navigate these areas, inquire locally for advice.

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Turkey Struggles With Earthquake Damage

October 26, 2011 on 10:20 am | In Istanbul travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel in Turkey, air travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings, travels in Turkey | 4 Comments

On Sunday October 23rd Turkey suffered a devastating earthquake of 7.2 magnitude. The quake was centered in the east of the country near Turkey’s border with Iran with the destruction focused on the towns of Ercis and Van. The death toll from the earthquake is nearing 500 with thousands injured. It is feared that more dead will be discovered as a large number of multi-story dwellings collapsed. Our hearts go out to the people of Turkey who have suffered from this catastrophe.

For more details see this information article from the Voice of America, which includes a map showing the major earthquake faults in the area.

Van and its surrounding areas are off the paths normally taken by tourists, but anyone thinking of traveling in this area should postpone or cancel their trip. The earthquake was particularly devastating and it will take months, if not longer, to restore the infrastructure and allow Turkey to focus on anything other than caring for its citizens.

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Ouch – Travel Troubles Everywhere

October 16, 2011 on 6:57 pm | In Egypt travel, Europe travel, France Travel, Greece Travel, Italy travel, London travel, Mexico travel, Paris Travel, Spain Travel, Travel Safety, UK Travel, air travel, england travel, international travel, new york travel, personal travel, rome travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel alert Greece, travel new york city, travel warnings | 2 Comments

Where to start?

Two of the largest labor unions in Greece have announced a 48 hour nationwide strike for October 19 and 20. Currently, lawyers are on strike, as are customs officers who are on a ten-day strike. See the Belfast Telegraph for details.

The “Occupy Wall Street has gone international with demonstrations in London, Toronto, Mexico City, Madrid, Rome and other locations. Unfortunately, the demonstrations turned violent in Rome. See this article from CNN for a top level overview of the demonstrations.

In Egypt, reform leaders are criticizing Egypt’s Military leadership, while the friction between the Copts (Christians) and some sects of believers in Islam, continues.

All in all, not a good week for travelers, at least those in the centers of major cities around the world. We are unsure what lies ahead for the demonstrations in Europe and the United States, but urge you to search local news sources to see if the activity might interfere with any travel you have planned. Other hotspots such as Greece and Egypt look to be long term problems that might just wind up with you taking these potential travel destinations off your bucket list, at least for a while.

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Terrorism in Ankara, Turkey

September 20, 2011 on 8:33 am | In Terrorism and travel, Travel Safety, Travel in Turkey, Turkey, air travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings, travels in Turkey | 2 Comments

A car bomb exploded in central Ankara , the Turkey capital, on Tuesday September 19th. See this article from the Wall Street Journal Online for details. Although the government of Turkey has indicated that there is, as of yet, no evidence of terrorism, the car bomb is thought by many to be the work of Kurdish militants. Areas supporting the militants near the southeast border of the country and in the Kurdish areas of Iraq have been the focus of bombing and military campaigns by the Turkish Armed Forces. There is concern that the current action by the Turkish military against the PKK (The Kurdish Workers Party) may result in the spread of PKK-related terrorism to other cities in Turkey as well as to tourist areas in the country.

If you are planning to visit Turkey exercise caution, avoid political rallies, or celebratory crowds, as these could become targets for the PKK. Also, be sure to monitor local news for any information that could be of use to use in evaluating the PKK threat wherever you will visit in Turkey.

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New York Travel News – The 9/11 Memorial and The Statue of Liberty

August 23, 2011 on 7:35 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, new york travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel new york city, travel news | 2 Comments

Our team has been on assignment this summer and we regret that we have not been able to publish new articles in our blog as often as we would like. Last week we were passing through New York and stopped in to check on the progress of the 9/11 Memorial, as well as the renovations planned for the interior of the Statue of Liberty.

The Grand Opening of the 9/11 Memorial is scheduled, quite fittingly, for dedication on September 11, 2011 and will be open to public visitors, who have reserved advanced passes, starting on September 12. We were able to get a view from a neighboring building and were stunned by the beauty and power of the Memorial. The footprints of the North and South Towers have been excavated and lined with black marble to create reflecting pools which are highlighted by water cascading down four walls. The names of the fallen are inscribed on bronze panels near the lip of each tower’s footprint and these monuments are surrounded by grass, trees and other plantings. The Museum features a large pavilion and a glass atrium. Below is a photograph taken from the upper stories of a building adjacent to the Memorial site.

The 9/11 Memorial taken in mid-August 2011

If you are planning a trip to New York, be sure to make reservations as far in advance as you can. See the official 9/11 Memorial website for details on the Memorial, as well as reserving tickets. Even though the location is not yet open to the public, the area is a virtual magnet for tourists wanting to pay their respect to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Below is an architectural model of the Memorial as it will look when completed.

The architectural model of the 9/11 Memorial

As one monument opens in New York, another will experience reduced access. Just so you know, all interior spaces of the Statue of Liberty will be closed for approximately one-year starting October 29, 2011, just a day after Lady Liberty celebrates her 125th anniversary. Both Liberty and Ellis Island will remain open during this period. Most visitors do not climb to the crown and the National Park Services feels that the closure, which is necessary to improve the safety of visitors to the interior, will not have a significant influence on visitors since most do not climb the stairway to the crown. However, if this ascent is one of your goals, you may want to postpone your visit until late 2012.

During our short visit to New York, we dined three times in the East Village and now have a new bevy of favorite restaurants. New York’s culinary scene seems to continually add fabulous restaurants whose menus include noteworthy feasts.

If you are thinking about a visit to New York City, see our detailed New York travel guide for our recommendations on the best places to visit in New York.

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Rioting Continues in London, Spreads Across Country

August 9, 2011 on 3:53 pm | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The rioting that beset London over the weekend has expanded far beyond the capital. New problem areas have been reported in London, as well as in Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other cities. For a map showing the location of the riots across England see this article in The Telegraph online. For the Guardian Live News Blog on the riots, see this link.

16,000 police will be on the streets of London tonight. It has been reported that the city’s jails are already full and that those arrested are being taken to jails in outlying locations.

It is our recommendation that tourists avoid London or consider postponing their trip if they have not yet departed for England. If you are already in the country and you cannot avoid the areas of rioting, pay attention to local media for up-to-date information on local circumstances and avoid the streets at night. While some think the riots in London and the rest of the country may be on the wane, we do not see any credible indications that this is so. If you are determined to be in England this week, it will likely be risky and we recommend that you change your itinerary for safety’s sake.

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Riots in London

August 7, 2011 on 10:11 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

In London, Saturday night’s riots in Tottenham were followed on Sunday by more riots across the city. While most of the new rioting was limited in size and labelled “copycat”, it has spread across London, even to the area of Oxford Circus in central London. See this article from Sky News and this one from CNN for more details. It is possible these “pockets” of rioting will continue, so check the local news if you are traveling in London or other areas of England.

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