World Travel Watch: New Trekking in Kashmir, Dengue in Venezuela and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
07.14.10 | 12:15 PM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
India: India Opens 100 Peaks in Kashmir Despite Unrest
The government opened nearly 100 previously off-limits peaks in Kashmir to trekkers and mountaineers in an effort to spur tourism to the troubled region. The move comes in the face of recent violent protests against Indian rule and curfews imposed in Srinagar by the Indian army. Tensions remained high. The greater context, however, is that since the beginning of a peace process between India and Pakistan in 2004, insurgent violence has significantly declined. The newly opened peaks range in altitude from 9,840 feet to 26,246 feet and most are located in Ladakh, a Himalayan region within Kashmir.
Panama: Bocas del Toro Strike Disrupted Travel, Closed Border
Striking banana workers clashed with state police in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro July 8, with two people killed and scores injured. The week-long strike disrupted travel in and out of the area and closed the border with Costa Rica. The unrest calmed by July 11 and the situation returned to normal after the Bocas Fruit Company, government officials and workers came to an agreement, but there were rumors of possible further strikes. Bocas del Toro province is a popular seaside tourist area.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands: Drug Violence Claims Life of 14-year-old Tourist
A 14-year-old tourist from Puerto Rico on a shore excursion from a Carnival Cruise Lines ship was killed in a drug gang gun battle July 12. While the incident was a tragic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it underscored a growing problem in the Virgin Islands where gun violence is increasing and drug gangs appear to be becoming more brazen. The incident occurred as a tourist bus was on its way to Coki Point Beach, one of the island’s most popular beaches.
Uganda: Suicide Attacks May Have Been Linked to Somalia Peacekeeping Mission
Dual suicide attacks in Kampala July 11 killed at least 70 people at two venues where World Cup fans were gathered. The incidents serve as a reminder to know as much as possible about the politics and foreign policy of countries you visit. An Islamic militant group based in Somalia and believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda in East Africa claimed the attacks. Analysts speculated that the attacks were in retaliation for Uganda’s participation in an ongoing peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
Venezuela: Dengue Fever on the Rise
Dengue fever has increased more than 80 percent over 2009 figures and almost 10 percent of the cases have been hemorrhagic dengue fever, which can be fatal. The states most affected are Miranda, Merida, and the Capital District of Caracas. The government has implemented a program to control mosquitoes by fumigating homes and destroying breeding sites, but the only sure way to avoid the disease is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.