World Travel Watch: Protests in France Turn Violent, Entry Fee in Venice and More

World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

10.20.10 | 12:56 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.

Ecuador: Emergency Decree Extended in Quito

The U.S. Embassy in Quito reported that the Ecuadorian government’s “state of exception” imposed on Sept. 30 following police protests has been extended to 60 days in Quito but lifted throughout the rest of the country. The emergency decree gives the military law enforcement authority in Quito. The Embassy’s announcement noted that Quito is listed as “critical” for crime, the highest level a post can be rated, and encourages tourists to be cautious, remain aware of their surroundings at all times and to avoid unnecessary travel, especially at night.

France: Protests Against Pension Reform Continue, Turn Violent

Heated protests against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age to 62 continued around the country and became violent Oct. 19, primarily in Lyon, and almost a third of all gas stations in France ran out of fuel. Half of the flights out of Paris’ Orly airport and 30 percent out of France’s other airports were canceled. In Marseille, strikes by garbage collectors left heaps of trash piled around the city and transport was essentially shut down by striking workers. Further protests are likely around the country.

Italy: Government to Impose Entry Fee for Visitors to Venice

The Italian government is moving ahead with plans to impose an entry fee on all visitors to Venice who arrive by air, rail or cruise ship. The fee is likely to be insignificant, in the one euro range, but it will raise needed funds from the more than 20 million annual tourists to help restore the city’s deteriorating buildings and monuments. Critics say the fee will reinforce the image of Venice as a cultural and historical theme park, but supporters say the fee is necessary because so many tourists come just for the day and bring their own food, spending little money in the city.

Philippines: Additional Tourist Police to Prevent Crime Around Country

Authorities plan to increase the number of police officers in special tourist protection units across the country to address concerns raised by the August hostage debacle in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a rescue operation. The additional police will operate in major tourist destinations including Bacalzo, Baguio, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Davao, Palawan and Tagaytay. The focus will be on crime prevention rather than coming to the aid of crime victims.

Ukraine: Missing Manhole Covers a Pedestrian Hazard

Watch your step when walking about the city of Kyiv. For much of this year the city has been experiencing a rash of missing manhole covers, with many accidents occurring when pedestrians fell in unaware. The covers are missing primarily because thieves pry them up and sell them as scrap metal. As the problem increased the mayor demanded a report on the locations of the approximately 1,000 covers and the various companies responsible for them, but many months later no report has been done in part because the person assigned the task no longer works for the city.

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