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USTOA Members Wary of Travel to Egypt

January 31, 2011 By: George Dooley

The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is reassuring Egypt-bound travelers on its member company tours and vacation packages that their safety and security is of utmost importance in the wake of political and civil unrest that has swept the North African nation in the past week.

“The USTOA community has always taken steps to maximize traveler protection while at any destination,” said Terry Dale, president of the USTOA.

As of January 28, 35 percent of responding members said they had cancelled their Egypt itineraries.

Passengers on escorted tours are always in contact through their tour manager, who is knowledgeable and well versed on local conditions, the association said. Many USTOA companies also have local offices or affiliates throughout major tourist destinations — including Egypt — to ensure constant communication with their tour managers and guests. For travelers on an independent vacation package or a custom itinerary planned through a USTOA member, there is a company contact in case of emergency. The company also has a record of each traveler, so they are able to reach them, according to USTOA.

The association said in a release that it closely monitors all situations in its destinations and has crisis management teams available that are ready to handle emergency situations.

Regarding future travel arrangements, the USTOA advised travelers planning an Egypt trip to check with their individual company, tour operator, or travel agent regarding future travel arrangements, as policies on rebooking are up to each individual company, and vary by company.

In an informal poll of USTOA members serving Egypt, all respondents said they are assisting their clients, the USTOA said.

“Most are allowing travelers to reschedule their trips for a future date without penalties, issuing credits for future travel, offering clients alternate destinations, or refunding payments,” the association said.



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By George Dooley | January 31, 2011
As of January 28, 35 percent of responding USTOA members said they had canceled their Egypt itineraries.