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Terrorist warnings: Are these short-haul Christmas breaks safe? | Travel News | Travel

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Christmas is an ideal time to enjoy a holiday abroad but with the current raised terror threat across Europe, travellers need to be careful. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues terror advice on all countries. So how safe are the short-haul destinations popular with Britons, from France to Spain, at this time of year?

France

The FCO warned terrorists are “very likely” to try to carry out attacks in France and the attacks could be “indiscriminate.”

There have been a number of high profile terrorist attacks since 2015 across France.

The FCI said: “Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be extra vigilant and has reinforced its own domestic and overseas security measures.

“You should be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local French authorities.”

Germany

Terror attacks are also classed as “very likely” in Germany.

On 19 December 2016, a lorry was driven into a crowd at a Christmas market in central Berlin causing 12 deaths and a number of injuries.

The FCO advised tourists to be vigilant. They added: “The German government has announced that increased security has been put in place as a precaution at public buildings, major events, transport hubs and large public gatherings.”

Egypt

The FCO warned that terrorists are “very likely” to carry out attacks across Egypt.

They advised: “You should avoid crowded places and gatherings (including in or around religious sites) during religious festivals or times of heightened tensions.

“Terrorist groups have sometimes called for attacks at these times. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times.”

The FCO added: “The authorities in Egypt maintain a significant security presence across the country, including armed security officers stationed at important sites, critical infrastructure, and road checkpoints. Extra measures are in place at tourist sites.”

Morocco

Morocco is also classed as a country where terror attacks are “very likely” and tourists should be vigilant.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate or target foreigners,” cautioned the FCO.

“Protective security measures, including security personnel, may be visible in certain areas including hotels and sites popular with tourists.”

Spain

In Spain terrorists are considered “likely” to carry out attacks, making it one of the safer holiday destinations.

The FCO said: “Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

“The Spanish authorities take measures to protect visitors, but you should be vigilant and follow the instructions of the local authorities.”

Turkey

Terror attacks are ”very likely” to happen in Turkey and a number of terrorist groups are active there.

On New Year’s day in 2017, there was an attack on the Reina nightclub in Ortakoy, Istanbul; 39 people were killed and 69 injured.

Terrorist groups, including Daesh and the TAK, have publicly threatened to attack tourist sites in Turkey.

“There is a heightened risk of terrorist attack against the aviation industry in Turkey,” warned the FCO. “You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports.

There are only two countries in the world that haven’t been given “likely” or “very likely” warnings for terrorism by the FCO.

Instead, Iceland and Japan are classed as countries where terror attacks “can’t be ruled out.”

The safest places in the world have recently been revealed by new research. 

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Travel & Escape

American woman faces $2,800 parking bill after leaving car in Toronto during pandemic

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Parking in the city can be costly, but one American woman is learning just how bad it can be after being unable to retrieve her car for nearly a year.

Detroit resident Kim Richardson left her 2004 Honda Element at the Park2Sky lot by Pearson airport in March 2020 before flying out to Europe for a medical procedure. She originally planned to retrieve it within two weeks but partway through her trip, the Canada-US border got closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Richardson’s return flight was rerouted to Detroit and she’s been unable to return to Toronto since.

What was originally a $100 bill has now inflated to $2,800 as the lot’s owner says he has a business to operate and is owed payment for 11 months of storage. However, Richardson believes she’s being extorted for an issue beyond her control.

Park2Sky personnel claim that several Americans who found themselves in similar predicaments have had their cars shipped home.

“I don’t understand, I don’t know what’s going on here. Business is down, I’m not making any money at all. People who leave their car are paid. She’s the only one that hasn’t paid,” said the owner to CBC News this week.

The stalemate is expected to last a while longer as travel restrictions remain in place and Ontario Provincial Police have said they won’t get involved in a civil matter.

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All systems are go for St. Lawrence Cruise Lines in 2021

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KINGSTON — Despite Canada’s newly extended cruise ship ban, Canadians still have a small-ship cruising alternative in 2021 with St. Lawrence Cruise Lines.

The small-ship operator, which sails on the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, has confirmed operations for 2021, with overnight cruises on both rivers from May 20 to Oct. 24. A variety of cruises ranging from four to seven nights will depart from Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec City, sailing exclusively in domestic waters with stops at select ports in Ontario and Quebec.

On Feb. 4, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced that Canada’s cruise ship ban will be extended until Feb. 28, 2022. This measure, which effectively prohibits cruise vessels carrying more than 100 passengers from operating in Canadian waters, does not impact the small-ship operations of St. Lawrence Cruise Lines and its 32-stateroom CANADIAN EMPRESS.

“We are excited to offer travellers a small ship option for the 2021 season,” said President Jason Clark. “Our overnight cruises stay close to shore in Canadian waters and our COVID-19 Health and Safety program has been recognized for its high standards.”

This past December, the cruise line was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) for adherence to global standards of health and hygiene. The program includes a wide range of safety measures, including reduced passenger loads, masking, physical distancing and hospital-grade electrostatic disinfecting for both private staterooms and shared spaces. Plus, all staterooms have access to fresh air, climate controls and views of the river.

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Here’s How Canada’s ‘Screening Officers’ Will Check On Travellers During Quarantine

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The federal government is reminding all travellers in Canada that “Screening Officers” may pay them a visit post-arrival.

In a statement about the country’s latest travel restrictions, Transport Canada confirmed that newly-trained officials would be tasked with checking up on travellers during their two-week quarantine period.

The role of the Screening Officers will be to visit travellers’ quarantine locations to “establish contact, confirm identify and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada.”

This is to make sure individuals are complying with Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.

The checks will be conducted across 35 Canadian cities, having already started in Montreal and Toronto back in January.

The officials will provide “compliance education” and will be able to issue verbal warnings, but stronger enforcement action will be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and then law enforcement for follow-up checks. 

Failing to comply with the Quarantine Act or with Screening Officers’ instructions could result in fines of up to $750,000 or even jail time.

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