Travel is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. But we are committed to keeping you safe while you get out there and Run Wild. So there are times when we might have to cancel trips or change itineraries to avoid those pesky problem areas (you know who you are).
Geckos makes these kinds of decisions based on info from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory. We also check with our local operators, who are on the ground and can give us up-to-the-minute info on the mood and feel within country. We also consider info from other foreign government websites including Britain, Canada, New Zealand, United States and World Health Organisation.
- Geckos tours will not operate if the Australian Government travel advisory reaches Level 5 - Do not travel
- Where possible and safe to do so, Geckos will change itineraries to avoid trouble areas (we'll let you know if there's additional costs)
- Decisions to cancel or change itineraries are made on a rolling basis, because situations and DFAT advice can change at any time. Where the advice is temporarily at ‘Do Not Travel’, we will review the status of our tours approximately 2 weeks before to departure.
Today at 08.35am (local time) there was an explosion in the Vezneciler district of Istanbul. This area is close to Istanbul University.
The report states that a car bomb was detonated as a Police Bus passed on its regular route to Istanbul University. Current reports state that there are 7 police killed and 4 civilians and up to 36 wounded in the blast.
We had no groups in this area and all of local staff are safe.
At this stage all of our trips will continue to run as scheduled. Any minor changes to itineraries will be managed on the ground by our operations team as explained below.
SAFETY IN TURKEY:
Following recent incidents in Turkey we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team and we are able to quickly change arrangements if for any reason we become concerned. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately.
We have taken the following measures to minimise the potential risk for our travellers in Turkey:
·Our local office is constantly monitoring local Ministry of Tourism updates and has regional advisors to keep them abreast on regional events.
·We are monitoring local transport conditions and will make changes to included transport as required.
·Whilst travelling in Istanbul before, after or during your tour we recommend avoiding crowded areas like Taksim Square, Galatasaray and Kadikoy Meydan after 6.00pm especially on a weekend. If using public transport in the city please refer to http://www.iett.gov.tr/en for the latest updates and announcements.
This advice covers all regions affected by the Zika virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO), has confirmed an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in several parts of Central and South America, and is also reporting the ongoing spread of the virus to other parts of the world, including Asia.
WHO does not consider Zika to be a pandemic, like SARS or Ebola. Based on available evidence, the WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to Zika virus disease.
Specific areas affected
Central, South America and the Caribbean – All countries other than Cuba, Argentina and Chile.
Asia & the Pacific – American Samoa, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga
Symptoms & Treatment
The symptoms of Zika may include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days. Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment.
Zika virus diagnosis can only be confirmed by laboratory testing.
People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.
According to the WHO, Zika is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and generally not spread person to person; however there is currently no vaccine or preventative drug available against this virus.
The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites by:
- Wearing long sleeves and pants (preferably light coloured)
- Use insect repellents when outdoors
Health authorities have confirmed the link between Zika virus in pregnant women and microcephaly (a smaller than normal skull) in their babies. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take extra care to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
In line with the above health warnings, Geckos recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to a region affected by the Zika virus.
Changes to bookings
The following change and cancellation fees apply to pregnant women currently booked to travel on a trip to a region affected by the Zika virus (as listed at the top of this advice).
- To transfer funds to another trip to another region an no extra fee*
- To postpone trip dates at no extra fee*
- Cancellations within 30 days from departure: loss of deposit applies to cover unrecoverable on ground costs (a note from a doctor confirming pregnancy is required)*
- Cancellations outside 30 days from departure: no cancellation fees apply (a note from a doctor confirming pregnancy is required)*
*exceptions may apply to Antarctica bookings.
Please contact your booking agent for more information in this regard and to make any amendments to your booking.
More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links –
World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention: http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00385.asp