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Travel Advisory

Disease Threat Recedes, British Sites Reopen; American Precautions Asked

April 29, 2001|EDWARD WRIGHT | Edward Wright is a former assistant foreign editor at The Times. His column appears monthly

New cases of foot-and-mouth disease among Britain's ravaged livestockcattle herds are declining, officials said, and parks are being reopened to visitors, including the prehistoric Stonehenge. But it could take years to woo back the lost foreign trade, a spokesman for the English Tourism Council said. The disease, which has hit Britain the hardest, has also spread, but to a smaller degree, to the Netherlands, France and Ireland. To avoid spreading the disease to animals in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises American travelers in returning from Britain to:

* Avoid farms, zoos, fairs or other animal facilities for five days before leaving Britainthe country.

* Launder or dry clean all clothing at the end of the visit; also clean shoes.

* * Use a bleach solution to disinfect luggage and other articles.


Spain: Basque terrorists have threatened to attack tourist resorts and have warned tourists of "undesirable consequences" if they visit Spain. Government and tourism officials downplayed the threat, issued late last month by the separatist group ETA. The State Department did not specifically comment on the threat. The British Embassy in Madrid said Britons were being advised that tourist areas might be targeted but that the risk was small. ETA, which planted bombs at two beach towns earlier in March, has struck at tourism before.


Cambodia: Police were called to the temples of Angkor last month to rescue a group of Thai tourists from a mob angered over the visitors' treatment of temple beggars. Some of the tourists reportedly had laughed, thrown sweets and posed children for photos with buckets over their heads, according to a report in a Cambodian newspaper quoted in the Straits Times of Singapore. Police escorted the tourists back to their hotel in the northern town of Siem Reap, but the mob of about 400 followed, and police had to disperse them by firing shots in the air, the paper reported. The tour group was escorted out of town the following morning.

Middle East

United Arab Emirates: Three Americans were arrested last month for distributing compact discs and videotapes promoting Christianity in Dubai, one of the Emirates, according to a local newspaper. Their church was not identified, and the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi would not comment. The Emirates are home to many non-Muslim institutions, including Christian churches and Hindu temples, but it is illegal to promote a religion other than Islam. Conviction of such a crime could carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. The State Department reminds travelers that U.S. citizens in a foreign country are subject to that country's laws. Its standing consular information sheet on the Emirates does not mention the risks of evangelism.

South Pacific

Fiji: Although major tourist areas have been quiet, and roads and airports open, political conditions in Fiji remain uncertain, and a national state of emergency remains in effect. Tthe State Department has issued a fresh announcement advising Americans to be careful there. A national state of emergency remains in effect. The situation began last May when armed dissidents seized Parliament. The most recent incident of political violence occurred last November. More instability could accompany parliamentary elections scheduled for August. The U.S. advisory, effective until July 21, suggests that Americans in Fiji keep a low profile, avoid political demonstrations and monitor local media for developments that may affect their safety.

Briefly ...

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