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Message from Fodor's regarding the earthquake in Turkey


Aug 25th, 1999, 10:42 AM
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Message from Fodor's regarding the earthquake in Turkey

Turkey has long been a destination for travelers, but in recent years its popularity has grown. The recent earthquake there and its aftermath have left some travelers with vacation plans already in hand, uneasy about how to proceed. How will these events affect your trip?

The infrastructure has been damaged to varying degrees and the recovery efforts will continue to have an impact on the region. Hereís what we know: While many of the residential buildings were damaged in the quake, none of the major historical or tourist sites was affected. Istanbulís airport, into which the majority of travelers to Turkey fly, is open and operational. There may be some flight delays to accommodate recovery efforts, but there seem to be few disruptions to date. The phone lines are working, although you may experience delays from the heavier load due to incoming calls from concerned family and friends. The rail service between Istanbul and Ankara was shut down, primarily due to the fires in Izmit. While trains will begin running again, in addition to passenger use, they may be required to transport supplies to damaged areas causing some delays. Cruise ships with Istanbul itineraries are still operating. If any danger does arise, the cruise lines will reroute their ships accordingly, as they would if there were storms in the Caribbean. If you were planning on driving from Istanbul to the resort city of Termal, you will experience significant damage and heavy traffic on Routes 100 and 130. Consider taking one of the numerous sea buses and express ferries that operate daily from Istanbul to Yalova. Buses are available for the 20-minute ride to Termal.

Itís important to remember that this has been a major event whose effects will be felt in a variety of ways throughout Turkey in the weeks and months ahead. As a traveler there, you might encounter service disruptions, some unexpectedly, so be patient and open to changing plans if the need arises. There are, however, ways that you can try to make things go as smoothly as possible. Preparation before the trip will help to avoid some potential problems. The U.S. State Department (www.travel.state.gov) has issued warnings to defer travel to areas surrounding the epicenter of the earthquake, including Izmit, Kocaeli, Golcuk, and Yalova. Review their advisories for updates on local conditions. Check with your airline, travel agent, or tour operator on the status of your trip. Some tours have been rerouted to avoid the greater earthquake area. Upon arrival consider registering with your local embassy in Turkey. (The U.S. embassies can be reached in Ankara at 011-90-312/468--6110 and in Istanbul at 011-90-212/251--3602.) For additional information, check the Republic of Turkey site at www.turkey.org.

If you do choose to cancel or postpone your trip, make certain that you read the fine print in all of your contracts to determine what reimbursements might be due you. If you purchased trip insurance it is important to read the policy. Remember, you are covered only for what is specified in the policy.

Being a smart, informed traveler is your best bet to a successful vacation.
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