World Travel Watch: Tube Strike in London, Election Worries in Egypt and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
11.17.10 | 1:26 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.
Egypt: Elections Could Spark Unrest
Parliamentary elections will take place Nov. 28 and could be preceded by tensions and civil unrest. In recent weeks, the government has arrested dozens of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party that fields candidates as independents, and placed restrictions on the media. Past elections have been marred by corruption and violence despite the government’s assurance that elections will be free and fair, as it is vowing this time as well.
Mexico: Hotel Explosion on Riviera Maya Blamed on Swamp Gas
An explosion at the Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen that killed five Canadian tourists and two hotel workers was blamed on a buildup of swamp gas beneath the building. The resort was built four years ago on a concrete slab in a swampy area on the Riviera Maya. Tourists reported smelling gas in the days before the explosion but assumed it was sewer fumes.
Sri Lanka: Government to Legalize Gambling to Attract Foreign Tourists
After almost three decades of civil war, Sri Lanka is looking for ways to attract more foreign tourists, and one option is to open its doors to casino development. Parliament recently passed legislation to legalize gambling and established a plan to designate special gambling zones where casinos and betting agencies could set up shop. The law will create centralized control for licensing casinos and other gambling operations. Currently some casinos and other betting centers operate in Colombo by slipping through loopholes in existing law, but the new law will permit development of larger enterprises.
St. Kitts: Suspects Arrested in Cruise Passenger Ambush
St. Kitts has a relatively low crime rate, but in a recent incident a band of armed robbers used a fallen tree to block the road to the popular tourist site of Brimstone Hill Fortress, then ambushed a van-load of tourists from a cruise ship, robbing them of their cash and valuables before disappearing into the bush. After putting scores of police and soldiers on the hunt, authorities arrested four suspects two days later. Two cruise lines, Carnival and Princess, canceled scheduled stops on the island pending resolution of the incident. St. Kitts officials called the robbery “unprecedented and unfortunate.”
United Kingdom: London Tube Strike Set for Nov. 28-29
The fourth 24-hour strike of the year on the London Underground will create transit chaos if it goes ahead as planned Nov. 28-29. Union members walked out for 24 hours most recently Nov. 1 and service wasn’t back to normal until the morning of Nov. 4. The Nov. 28 strike is likely to happen because Transport for London management announced additional plans to cut staff in the safety department by almost 50 percent, further antagonizing the unions. The strike is set to begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 28.