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Cairo tourist bus explosion: Is it safe to travel to Egypt after disaster in capital city? | Travel News | Travel

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A tourist bus in Cairo, Egypt, exploded tonight, killing some of those on board. The blast was said to have happened in the south of the city in the Giza district, which is home to the world-famous pyramids. It is unknown who or how many people were on the bus. Russian state television channel Russia Today has tweeted: “Several people have been reported dead as well as wounded.” The pyramids are one of the world’s major tourist attractions, attracting almost 15 million visitors annually – is it still safe to visit?

Latest FCO advice

The FCO have yet to update their travel advice for Egypt. However, they have a detailed page on terrorism and also accidents in the country.

They say: “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in Northern Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country.

“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.

“You should follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one.

“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.

“The Egyptian government’s counter-terrorism campaign has resulted in a reduction in the number of terrorist attacks on the Egyptian mainland since January 2015, although several attacks took place on the mainland in 2017.”

There is no suggestion as yet that the bus explosion is linked to terror. The BBC reports that a bomb hidden beside a wall went off as the bus carrying 14 Vietnamese tourists was passing, according to the Egyptian ministry of interior.

Advising on accidents in the country, the FCO write: “Accidents are common, mainly due to poor road conditions, dangerous driving and non-enforcement of traffic laws.

“Observe the speed limit and if possible avoid independent road travel outside main cities and resorts at night. Make sure you have adequate insurance.

“There have been a number of serious bus crashes in recent years with large numbers of fatalities, including tourists.”

Egypt’s interior ministry confirmed the bus had been carrying a party of tourists from Vietnam.

A statement issued shortly after the blast said two Vietnamese tourists had been killed and 12 others had been injured.

Ten of the people were also Vietnamese tourists, with the other two Egyptian nationals, including the bus driver, the ministry added.

The bus was hit by an explosion from an improvised device hidden near a wall on Marioutiya street at around 1815 (1615 GMT). Police are investigating, the statement said.

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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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