2015年4月26日星期日

Intrepid Travel cancels trips to Nepal after earthquake as tourists warned of chaos

  • Intrepid Travel cancels all trips to Nepal until at least May 11
  • Customers with bookings offered full refund or trip somewhere else
  • Nepal expert at Kuoni warns tourists to expect a 'frenzy,' and that they won't be 'a priority'
  • Foreign Office's main focus is ensuring Britons keep themselves safe
  • Helpline set up to offer advice for anyone caught up in the disaster
  • Warning to tourists heading out to the region to be aware that the area is always 'at high risk' of earthquakes 
  • Queues begin to build at Tribhuvan International Airport as tourists look to leave Nepal as soon as possible

A leading holiday company has cancelled trips out to Nepal following in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earth quake that struck the country leaving thousands dead.

Intrepid Travel, who run 800 trips across the world and have 100,000 customers each year, have decided not to take any more bookings to Nepal until May 11.

And those who are planning on travelling out before this date with existing bookings have been offered a full refund or alternative trip.

Scroll down for video 

As the search goes on for those missing in the earthquake, the British Foreign Office has advised tourists in Nepal to follow the advice from local authorities

As the search goes on for those missing in the earthquake, the British Foreign Office has advised tourists in Nepal to follow the advice from local authorities

The company confirmed to MailOnline Travel that their 200 clients who are currently in the country have all been accounted for and are safe.

'While we are continuing to concentrate on the safety of our clients out in Nepal, we have decided to cancel all our trips to the country until May 11 while the rescue operation is underway,' said a spokesperson.

'Safety is our main priority, and even after this date, we may have to recommend our customers to book to visit somewhere else.

'No-one knows how long the rescue operation will go on for, but in the short term we wouldn't advise anyone to visit after such a disaster.'

Intrepid Group has been running tours to Nepal for 36 years and has a team of local operators on the ground constantly monitoring the situation. 

Nepal’s capital Kathmandu – with a population of over one million – was one of the worst-hit areas in Nepal, with the quake’s epicentre just 50 miles north of the city. As the tremors intensified, people were seen in scenes of mayhem running from their homes and places of work in panic.

Dozens of people were gathered in the car park of Kathmandu's Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses had been spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some patients wearing hospital pyjamas, while doctors and nurses were treating people.

Around 1,000 tourists have amassed at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu in the hope of getting out of Nepal following the earthquake

Around 1,000 tourists have amassed at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu in the hope of getting out of Nepal following the earthquake

Jordan Torrilla, Nepal expert with luxury holiday company Kuoni has warned tourists what they should expect if they honour their trips to the Asian country.

'As with any aftermath of a natural disaster, there will be a frenzy, and it certainly won't be calm and tranquil',' he told MailOnline Travel.

'There will be an atmosphere of worry, people will be doing emergency shopping, and obviously it wouldn't be a great time to be going out there.

'There are always times when people have to travel out to these destinations after a disaster, tourists just have to be aware of the people and what they will be going through.

'You are certainly not going to be number one, not going to be the priority. It's important you have a deep level of patience as it will be very difficult for the local to prioritise you when they may be dealing with severe family issues and loss of life.' 

And a spokesperson for Trailfinders confirmed that their customers scheduled to travel to Nepal in the next couple of days have been contacted and advised against making the trip.

All 12 bookings they have out in Nepal have been accounted for and plans are being made to return them home.

Powerful earthquake causes buildings to collapse in Nepal

People survey the rubble of damaged buildings a day after a massive earthquake in Nepal

People survey the rubble of damaged buildings a day after a massive earthquake in Nepal

Meanwhile the Foreign Office advice is that British tourists should check with their travel provider before heading to Nepal.

The importance of following local authorities' advice as well as keeping an eye on news and updates has also been highlighted as critical for anyone who may have been caught up in the disaster.

And the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) told MailOnline Travel that tourists should be aware that Nepal is always considered a country of 'high-risk' of earthquake, and that their main focus is on helping Britons caught up in the disaster.

'We advise people to stay in a place of safety and follow any advice provided by local authorities,' a spokesperson said.

'The situation is always changing, so it's important to keep an eye on local news providers.

'Our general advice to anyone who is set to travel, or currently travelling, out there would be to check with your travel provider, and to make sure you keep abreast of the situation.

'We have a dedicated phone number that people can call if they have any questions at all about the situation, and this can be about outward travel too.' 

The earthquake's epicentre was Kathmandu, but aftershocks and tremors have been felt in another three countries

The earthquake's epicentre was Kathmandu, but aftershocks and tremors have been felt in another three countries

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 06.11 GMT, with walls crumbling and families racing outside of their homes. The 7.8 magnitude tremor was the worst to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

Television footage showed a huge swathe of houses had collapsed in while roads had been split in two by the force of the impact.

Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu has re-opened following the disaster, but with over a thousand people queuing overnight, the journey out of Nepal will be problematic for tourists. 

NDTV reports that a queue 'perhaps a kilometre long' has grown outside Nepal's only international airport, with many families having to go without food and water in the hope of leaving the country. 

A statement on the FCO website reads: 'The British Embassy would seek to help British nationals to leave as soon as possible following a major natural disaster. 

Around 2,000 people are thought to have died in Nepal alone, with hundred still missing

Around 2,000 people are thought to have died in Nepal alone, with hundred still missing

'However, Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) may be unusable following a large-scale earthquake, as will Nepal’s road network. It could take some days for it to become operational.' 

A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) told MailOnline Travel: 'Travellers in Nepal are advised to monitor local news and media reports and to follow any advice and instructions issued by the authorities and by the Foreign Office. 

'ABTA works closely with its Members and with the Foreign Office to ensure the safety of any customers and staff affected.

'British travellers in Nepal or those due to travel should contact their holiday company who will help them with any concerns.'

Nepalese rescue members and onlookers gather at the collapsed Darahara Tower in Kathmandu; tourists are now making their way to Tribhuvan International Airport in the hope of avoiding another disaster

Nepalese rescue members and onlookers gather at the collapsed Darahara Tower in Kathmandu; tourists are now making their way to Tribhuvan International Airport in the hope of avoiding another disaster

Around 40,000 British Nationals are reported to have visited Nepal in 2013.

Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond has said his thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the natural disaster, and that the British government are in 'close contact' with their Nepalese counterparts.

'The British Embassy in Nepal is offering our assistance to the authorities and is providing consular assistance to British Nationals,' he added.

This morning, a 6.7 magnitude aftershock struck India and Nepal, shaking buildings in New Delhi and triggering an avalanche in the Himalayas.

The earthquake also triggered a massive avalanche on Mount Everest killing 18 people and injuring at least 30 climbers. There are also a number of climbers still missing, including a number of Britons. 

If you are a British national currently in Nepal and wish to inform the FCO of your whereabouts you should contact them on +44 207 008 0000.

This number can also be called for anybody who has concerns about visiting the region affected by the earthquake. 

 

 

 



1 条评论: