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Travel updates

​14 February 2024 - Japan Noto Peninsula earthquake

We have now managed to contact all local suppliers for our Cycle Japan holiday itinerary that have been affected by the 1st January earthquake impacting central Japan’s western coastline. Transportation has mostly returned to normal except some local roads and the train lines heading to the north of the peninsula. Repair work is still under way as the Japanese authorities endeavour to return the region to normal. Many properties in Wajima have been damaged, including the hotel at which we usually stay. Other accommodation that we use is unaffected, although they are still being temporarily used to house residents who have suffered loss of or damage to their homes. Four out of six of these properties have recently communicated to us that they will not be operating at all in 2024. 

All considered, we have taken the decision to cancel our 2024 departures of Cycle Japan, as we cannot be certain that things will have returned to normal and alternative accommodation is not available. We are in the process of contacting all clients booked on these departures. Our 2025 Cycle Japan departures are on sale and we are confident that the region will have returned to normal by then and we look forward to bringing much needed business and normality back to the region. 


23 January 2024 - Ecuador State of Emergency

The Foreign Office advisory now states that it advises “against all but essential travel to the Coastal Region provinces”. This includes the city of Guayaquil, where most of our Ecuador tours end, but does not apply to airside transit within the airport. We are re-routing tours in January and February to avoid travel through Guayaquil. We will be making decisions on changes for future tours approximately 6 weeks to 2 months prior to departure.

In terms of general safety, the situation has stabilised quickly. We get regular up-to-date information about the general security situation, as well as the impact on travel within Ecuador, from our local partners and other contacts in the country. We’ve heard regularly from different suppliers and hotels who currently have groups and travellers in country and are operating largely as normal. Hotels, national parks, airports, roads and touristic infrastructure are all operating normally and calmly throughout the highlands, the jungles, and the Galapagos.


10 January 2024 - Ecuador State of Emergency

Ecuador is currently in a State of Emergency following a series of violent incidents across the country caused by criminal groups. The Ecuadorean Ministry of Tourism has recommended tourists stay inside their hotels/accommodation until further notice and only move for essential travel.
 
We are in communication with our local partners to get up to date information on the situation. We will be contacting customers due to travel to Ecuador or the Galapagos in January and February, in departure date order, by the end of the week with an update.



January 2024 - Japan earthquake
 
A 7.6 earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula on the west coast of Japan on 1 January, quickly followed by a succession of lower impact quakes affecting this local area.
 
We do not expect this earthquake to have any significant impact on travel to Japan and there has been no disruption in major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
 
The closest major city to the quake is Kanazawa – visited on our Simply Japan (QJS), Taste of Japan (XJF) and Highlights of Japan (JPH) itineraries.  We have been informed that some minimal damage has been sustained but we are not getting any reports of damage affecting our accommodation or places we visit and we fully expect the city to be back to normal by the time our first groups start to arrive in February.
 
Our Cycle Japan (CJA) tour travels around the Noto Peninsula, cycling and staying in local accommodation. We are working closely with our local partners to assess any possible impact on our itinerary. We will be able to build a complete picture in the coming days as power and communications are re-established. If the itinerary is affected and any changes are needed, we will communicate to any clients already booked as soon as possible. Our next departure of Cycle Japan is on 7 April.

October 2023 - Smooth operations in Egypt and Jordan continue

We would like to confirm that following events in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories, our tours to both Egypt and Jordan have been running smoothly over the past weeks and continue to do so. We keep in close contact with our partners and we monitor the situation on the ground closely. Whilst isolated demonstrations can occur our tour leaders will take measures to ensure groups avoid any areas where organised demonstrations are taking place.

The Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice has not changed however we will promptly respond should there be any developments or updates.

October 2023 - Israel-Palestine conflict

Following the ongoing situation in Israel we have cancelled all our tours to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and to Lebanon until the end of May 2024. We will contact customers affected by the cancellations (in departure date order) and will continue to monitor the situation in the area. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this conflict. 
 
The Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) now advises against all but essential travel to Lebanon. As a result we can no longer operate our Lebanon tours and have cancelled all departures until the end of the year. We will be contacting affected passengers in departure date order.

We'd like to confirm that all other tours are operating as usual. As always, we keep in very close contact with our partners and respond to any changes made to FCDO advice.   Our Explore Flex policy means that you have options if you decide to change your trip or dates up to ten days before your planned departure. In any instances where the FCDO advises against travel, we cancel all trips and full refunds are payable.

15 September PM 2023 - Earthquake in Morocco

We have been working very closely with our partners in Morocco over the last week, initially focussing on those people in country, and now looking at upcoming departures. There are currently groups travelling in Morocco and there is a now a much clearer picture of the situation, and has allowed us to review the timelines previously set.

The main area affected by the earthquake is the mountainous region south west of Marrakech, a popular trekking region which isn’t yet ready to receive tourists, therefore we have cancelled trekking trips to Morocco until the end of 2023. 

For non-trekking departures arriving in Morocco up until 23 September we have adjusted itineraries where necessary. After this date we expect the majority of trips to be able to operate as per original itinerary. It is possible that sightseeing in Marrakech is slightly amended, as currently a small number of monuments, including the Bahia Palace, remain closed; until it re-opens any trips due to visit here will include a visit to Ben Yousesef Medrassa. In Marrakech Djemma el-Fna Square has now reopened as have sections of the old Medina. We will be contacting all customers due to travel up until 31 October with details of how this may affect their trips.

The Best of Morocco itinerary (tour code MR) will be amended for departures up until 31 December as this trip was due to travel to Ouirgane. Instead it will overnight in the Berber village of Bou Tharar, before continuing to Ait Ben Haddou.  From Ait Ben Haddou it will drive to Essaouira where the trip will continue as per itinerary. We are currently contacting those affected by this change. 


11 September PM 2023 - Earthquake in Morocco

The main area affected by the earthquake is the mountainous region south west of Marrakech, a popular trekking region which isn’t yet ready to receive tourists, therefore we have cancelled trekking trips to Morocco until the end of 2023. We are in the process of contacting those affected by these cancellations, in departure date order. In addition, our FMA trip (Family Marrakech, Atlas and Essaouira Adventure) spends time in the affected area and so will be cancelled.

We intend to operate all other trips to Morocco from 16 September. For departures up until 13 October we intend to adjust some itineraries where necessary – including minimising time spent in Marrakech, re-routing trips to avoid the affected areas and reviewing the Marrakech city tour to avoid the damaged areas. We will be in touch with all customers due to travel to Morocco in order of departure to discuss these changes and their options. 

We expect the majority of trips to operate as per original itinerary from 14 October. 

The Explore Foundation is pleased to be supporting the Red Cross, who are already working on the ground to get resources to those who need it most.

If you would like to help, all donations to our Morocco Earthquake Appeal will be going to the Red Cross to support immediate aid efforts. And to make your donation go further, Explore will match-fund all donations up to £20,000.


9 September PM 2023 - Earthquake in Morocco

We have cancelled departures to Morocco up to 16 September, and are in the process of contacting all passengers booked on those trips. We are in contact with our team in country and will make decisions on trips departing from 16 September once we have had the opportunity to further assess the situation. We plan to call customers booked on trips starting 16 September - 23 September from Monday (11th) afternoon in date order. We really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding in waiting to be contacted, so that the team dealing with this situation can manage it effectively.

Our sales and usual customer care lines remain open during normal hours.

9 September AM 2023 - Earthquake in Morocco

Morocco earthquake: Following the recent news, we have been in touch with our groups on the ground and all customers and staff are safe. We are cancelling some immediate departures.  Our team will contact you if you're affected.  To keep lines clear, please don't contact us unless it's an emergency.  Our thoughts are with all those affected and the people of Morocco.


Flight schedule changes

 

There are currently a high number of schedule changes being made across our trips by airlines. You may be contacted directly by the airline however rest assured that we will also have been made aware and will be in touch to discuss any revisions to your trip.