Madagascar Update: 7 December 2017
As per previous advice on this page, there was an outbreak of plague in Madagascar in 2017 which differed from the ‘normal’ endemic versions normally seen, with more cases of pneumonic (as opposed to bubonic) plague which is highly contagious. Plague is an endemic disease in Madagascar (among other countries including Peru), with cases of bubonic plague being reported nearly every year, particularly during the epidemic season between September and April. However, a pneumonic plague event has been reported in a non-endemic area and in densely populated cities for the first time. Bubonic plague is spread by infected rats via flea bite, pneumonic by person-to-person transmission. The current outbreak includes both forms of plague. Human-to-human transmission typically requires contact with the person with pneumonic plague. On 27 November, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that the outbreak in Madagascar has been contained, with no new cases of confirmed bubonic plague notified after 18 November, and no new cases of confirmed pneumonic plague notified since 19 November. Authorities are still maintaining control measures and sanitary protocols (ie. exit screening, temperature monitoring, disinfection of public places, contact tracing, etc) until the passing of the annual rainy season in April 2018 to avoid any relapses. Everything is back to normal in Madagascar; with all businesses and schools currently open. We have had groups travelling in Madagascar since August, all have undertaken their journeys without incident though it remains caution and careful adherence to personal hygiene is required. Precautionary measures are being taken and advice to travellers provided, namely very stringent hand-washing hygiene and monitoring of personal health with a keen eye on possible symptoms, wearing insect repellent and avoiding any identified high risk areas and crowded public places. Our leaders in Madagascar are on hand to monitor and assist travellers in staying healthy on our trips and are well versed in all precautionary measures.
It should be noted that the UK, Australian, USA, Canadian and New Zealand governments are not advising against travel to Madagascar and the WHO, at the time of writing, advises against any restriction on travel or trade on Madagascar. To date, there are no reported cases related to international travel, and WHO recommends that travel measures put in place by neighboring countries in relation to this outbreak be discontinued, given the containment of the pneumonic plague outbreak. We are still monitoring the situation, and consult frequently with our medical advisor Dr Ross Anderson and any recommendations made by the WHO. All our trips are operational in 2018. As always the safety of our travellers is our foremost priority and this will not be compromised.
Zimbabwe Update: 15 November 2017
Following the military action in Harare Zimbabwe on 13 November with President Mugabe being placed in military custody, government travel advisories are advising travellers to reconsider need to travel to Harare. None of our trips visit Harare and it should be noted that this advisory does not apply to Victoria Falls or Hwange National Park. We are in constant contact with our local operators in Victoria Falls, and they advise that the situation on the ground remains unchanged and it is very much business as usual. Borders are open with travellers arriving from Botswana, Livingstone Zambia and Hwange National Park with no road blocks along the way; and inbound/outbound flights into Zimbabwe are operating as scheduled. Please be aware that immigration may take longer than usual – please allow at least 4 hours for check-in and screening procedures and extra time for road transfers/border crossings. However in Harare there is an increased military presence, including road blocks and baggage searches at Harare Airport. Travellers are being advised to avoid demonstrations, rallies and large-scale public gatherings as they could turn violent, and not engage in any political activity including political discussions in public places. The overall travel warning level in Zimbabwe remains unchanged at “Exercise a high degree of caution” for Australian travellers and equivalent levels for those from the UK, US, Canada and NZ. The safety of our travellers is of the utmost importance; we are closely monitoring the situation and are in constant contact with our local operators. Should it be necessary, contingency plans will be enacted however at present all trips are operating as normal.
Vietnam Update: 6 November 2017
Typhoon Damrey made landfall on Saturday 04th November in the southern region of Vietnam resulting in flooding and damage to buildings and infrastructure. The southern city of Nha Trang and surrounding area was the worst affected. The tourist hotspot of Hoi An has also seen significant flooding. The worst of the strong winds have now dissipated and clear-up operation is under way. However, heavy rain is forecast until at least Tuesday (07th) throughout the region causing a continued risk of flooding and landslides in rural areas.
All World Expeditions travellers are safe and accounted for. Impacts on future trips (if any) are being assessed and details will be forwarded to those travellers affected. However, it is expected that trips should continue, potentially with slightly amended itineraries. As always the safety and security of our travellers is our foremost priority and we are in constant contact with our office in Vietnam.
Japan Travel Advice: Sunday, 22 October 2017
Typhoon Lan made landfall at Shizuoka, 175km (110 miles) south-west of Tokyo, at about 03:00 local time on Monday (18:00 GMT Sunday). Gusts of up to 198km/h (123mph) hit the country. The storm drenched many regions over the weekend causing wide spread flooding which led to almost 300 flights being cancelled on Monday, after 500 were cancelled on Sunday. Our office in Japan has advised that the main storm has past the Kanto region (Tokyo), heading north. All World Expeditions clients are safe and itineraries continuing as planned. Minor changes to itineraries of those currently travelling have been implemented and tours are continuing with no major disruptions. All forward trips are operational.
Madagascar Update: 16 October 2017
There is an outbreak of plague in Madagascar which differs from the ‘normal’ endemic versions normally seen, with more cases of pneumatic (as opposed to bubonic) plague which is highly contagious. Plague is an endemic disease in Madagascar (among other countries including Peru), with cases of bubonic plague being reported nearly every year, particularly during the epidemic season between September and April. However, a pneumonic plague event has been reported in a non-endemic area and in densely populated cities for the first time. Bubonic plague is spread by infected rats via flea bite, pneumonic by person-to-person transmission. The current outbreak includes both forms of plague. Human-to-human transmission typically requires contact with the person with pneumonic plague. The World Health organisation have mobilised a response to the present outbreak and wide ranging strategies are in place in an effort to control it.
We have groups on the ground in Madagascar at present and they are continuing on as planned, however it is the case that the situation can and will change quickly. There are precautionary measures which can be taken, namely very stringent hygiene and monitoring of personal health with a keen eye on possible symptoms. Whilst death can result if left untreated, it can also be cured by common antibiotics if delivered early. World Expeditions continues to monitor the situation daily and consults frequently with our medical advisor, Dr Ross Anderson and refers to recommendations made by the World Health organisation.
It should be noted that the UK, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand governments are not currently advising against travel to Madagascar and the World Health Organisation, at the time of writing, advises against any restriction on travel or trade on Madagascar. Advice to travellers departing this year has been provided and advice for 2018 departures will be provided as departure dates near, with the expectation that the situation will normalise once the annual rainy season passes and ongoing efforts at control of the outbreak bear fruit. As always the safety of our travellers is our foremost priority and this will not be compromised. Our thoughts are with those affected by the outbreak and we commend the efforts of those who seek to control it.
Central America Update: 16 October 2017
Tropical Cyclone Nate swept through Central America this week leaving widespread damage across the region due to severe flooding. Monteverde, Costa Rica was severely affected but we have been informed by our office in Costa Rica that the recovery progress is expected to be swift with work already underway. We do not envisage any changes to existing itineraries and have travellers set to arrive later in the year. Most major roads are now open and safe to travel. As always the safety and security of our travellers is our foremost priority and we are in constant contact with our offices in Central America.
Air Zimbabwe: 16 October 2017
Air Zimbabwe has recently been refused permission to operate flights in the EU due to an apparent inability to demonstrate compliance with international air safety standards. It is strongly recommended that this be taken into account when choosing an airline for inbound and outbound travel to Victoria Falls Airport.
California, USA Update: 16 October 2017
Wildfires in California’s Sonoma and Napa Counties have resulted in at least 23 deaths and thousands homeless this week. World Expeditions does not currently have any travellers in this region. As towns in the region have been evacuated, and businesses and communications have been affected, our California Wine Route by Bike tour is temporarily unavailable for new reservations. No other World Expeditions tours/travellers have been affected. We will continue to monitor the situation and have every intention to support local businesses in the affected regions once it is safe to return.
Myanmar Travel Advisory: 5 October 2017
World Expeditions expresses deep concern for the plight of the Rohingya people in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
We support the recommendations put forth by former UN chief, Kofi Annan, who was appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi to lead a Commission into the persecuted Rohingya minority with a view to mitigate the tensions there. According to the Commission’s Terms of Reference – agreed by the Government of Myanmar and the Kofi Annan Foundation – the Commission analysed the present situation of all communities in Rakhine State, and sought to identify the factors that have resulted in violence, displacement and underdevelopment. In accordance with established international standards, the Commission developed recommendations within five thematic areas: conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, reconciliation, institution building and development. World Expeditions considers that if the recommendations are engaged the situation will be vastly improved.
Additionally, World Expeditions would like to assure travellers that the affected border areas have long been closed to tourists and that we only visit parts of Myanmar authorised by the Myanmar Government. The vast majority of Myanmar is safe, welcoming and open to tourism.
We are urging all travellers to continue to visit Myanmar as thousands of local families and private small businesses across the country have become dependent on tourism for their income. Boycotting this wonderful destination would penalise the local people who are now dependent on Myanmar’s fledgling tourism economy. All our trips are operational and as always, we will continue to monitor the situation carefully. We utilise the advice of government authorities, including the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and those of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand when assessing the operation of our trips along with the local knowledge inherent in our global offices. The safety of our travellers is of utmost importance to us and we will continue to remain vigilant as always in monitoring and reacting to any situations should they arise. We encourage travellers to visit Myanmar and will continue to support the local communities so in need of tourism.
Cuba update: 18 September 2017
After a difficult week for most people in Cuba after Hurricane Irma, the clear up process is progressing well and only the worst affected regions of the country are yet to reopen fully. The majority of streets in Havana now have electricity back. The Northern Keys of Central Cuba that are popular with all-inclusive beach holiday-goers are closed for repair, and also some hotels in Varadero. We have one trip due to start (Mexico & Cuba Explorer arrives in Havana on 1st Oct), and there is no impact on the itinerary or any hotel changes. The Havana Airport is back to full operation, and all major routes between destinations are safe to travel. As always the safety and security of our travellers is our foremost priority and we are in constant contact with our offices in Cuba and Central America.
Vietnam Update: 15 September 2017
Tropical Cyclone Doksuri made landfall in Northern Vietnam today resulting in localised flooding, power outages and damage to homes, primarily in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and neighbouring Nghe An and Quang Tri provinces. All World Expeditions travellers in Vietnam are safe and accounted for. Halong Bay cruises are currently suspended and flight cancellations are widespread, including those between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Contingency plans are being enacted for those in country and the impacts on future trips (if any) are being assessed. More details will follow however it is expected that trips should continue, potentially with slightly amended itineraries. The typhoon is expected to weaken before dissipating in northern Laos early Saturday. As always the safety and security of our travellers is our foremost priority and we are in constant contact with our office in Vietnam as this fluid situation evolves.
Bolivia Travel Advisory: 5 Sept 2017
There is community unrest and blockades that have affected transport routes around Achacachi and other areas near Lake Titicaca, including roads to Copacabana. As always the safety of our travellers is our foremost priority. World Expeditions and our partners in Bolivia and Peru continue to monitor the situation and we are receiving constant updates, and if necessary will effect contingency plans or short detours which will not affect any tour operations or services in Lake Titicaca, Copacabana and La Paz.
Asia Security Situation: 31 August 2017
Much media attention is focused on the ongoing tensions in the Korean Peninsula and missile testing in the region, though for all intents and purposes, all is as normal in the surrounding countries. All World Expeditions trips in Asia, including Japan and China remain operational with our specific protocols and safety analysis procedures being carefully adhered to. We utilise the advice of government authorities, including the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and those of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand when assessing the operation of our trips along with the local knowledge inherent in our global offices. The safety of our travellers is of utmost importance to us and we will continue to remain vigilant as always in monitoring and reacting to any situations should they arise. Our local teams in Japan and throughout Asia are eager as always to showcase their countries and look forward to welcoming our World Expeditions travellers.
Nepal Travel Advisory: 14 August 2017
Torrential Monsoon rains have caused major flooding throughout southern Nepal, including Chitwan National Park. Sadly, 49 fatalities have been reported so far, with hundreds of houses inundated. None of our trips are affected and we will continue to monitor conditions. As always, the safety of our travellers is our foremost concern. If required, contingencies will be implemented however at this stage it is expected that all trips will operate as planned. Our thoughts are with those affected.
Venezuela Travel Advisory: 31 July 2017
Elections for the new constituent assembly were held on 30 July. Violent protests and civil unrest continue, with security forces out in strength since 23 July. The level of the advice remains “Reconsider your need to travel to Venezuela”. The safety of our travellers is our foremost priority, and accordingly World Expeditions has made the decision to suspend trips to Venezuela for the time being due to ongoing security concerns. World Expeditions and our partner in Venezuela continue to monitor the situation and we are receiving constant updates. Venezuela is a beautiful country and we will resume operations once the security situation has improved.
Peru update: 15 March 2017
There have been heavy rains across many regions of Peru in recent weeks causing flooding, landslides and mudslides. Trujillo and surrounding areas in the north of Peru have been particularly affected as have areas of Lima. November through April is the rainy season in Peru and every year this region experiences flooding and landslides in some regions. Our partner has advised that at present no World Expedition trips have been affected. We will of course be monitoring the situation and will provide updates if there are any further developments. In the event that any of our trips will be affected, contingency plans will be implemented to ensure their smooth running. As always the safety of our travellers is our foremost priority. World Expeditions and our partner in Peru continue to monitor the situation and we are receiving constant updates.