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New Online Store Offers Travelers Travel Insurance And Assistance Services Needed To Meet Schengen Visa Requirements

Europe remains a popular tourist destination with more than 15 million Schengen visas sold each year and rising. To meet this growing demand, Europ Assistance today announced the Schengen e-Shop—a new online store that makes it easy for travelers to get the travel insurance, assistance services and visa information they need to visit the Schengen area. 

The Schengen e-Shop is an exciting, new, easy-to-use resource that’s going to help millions of travelers prepare for and protect their European vacations and business trips,” said Pierre Brigadeau, chief sales and marketing officer at Europ Assistance Group. “Europ Assistance has always been focused on developing products to meet customer needs and address new market trends. This initiative is perfectly aligned with our long-term strategy to develop global products that leverage our 50 plus years of experience in the travel assistance industry.”
 
A responsive, multilingual site, the Europe Assistance Schengen e-Shop helps travelers determine if they require a visa; how to obtain a visa; and provides the travel insurance solution to protect them while they are in the Schengen area. Catering to an international audience, the e-Shop supports desktop, mobile and tablet devices and is available in six languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese.
 
Once granted a Schengen visa, visitors equipped with Europ Assistance Schengen travel protection have access to 24/7 emergency travel and medical assistance as well as repatriation and health insurance coverage (up to 60.000€) in all Schengen area countries.
 
The Schengen e-Shop is available now at http://schengen.europ-assistance.com
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Philippines Travel Advice: With Effect June 2015, Philippine Airlines Allowed To Operate In European Airspace

Around 133,665 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2014. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance before you travel to the Philippines.

With effect from June 2015, all Philippine airlines are allowed to operate in European airspace. 

The FCO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

A list of incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety Network.

In 2009 the International Civil Aviation Organisation carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in the Philippines.

 

 

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Travel Warning Tunisia: Gunmen Attack 2 Tourist Hotels In Tunisia

Gunmen attacked the Imperial Hotel and Hotel Club Riu Bellevue at Port El Kantaoui, near Sousse, earlier today. 28 people have been reported killed and injured. A British Embassy crisis team is on its way to the area.

Some attackers may still be at large. Any British nationals in these hotels or nearby should remain indoors, and contact their tour operator and the Foreign Office on the hotline number below. For security reasons they should not advertise their location on social media or when speaking to journalists.

Two gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles reportedly penetrated a private beach area and opened fire.

FCO Hotline number: +44 (0)207 008 0000

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the Chaambi Mountain National Park area
  • the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef
  • the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba
  • within 5km of the Libya border area from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossing

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis (including the Tunisia-Libya border crossing point at Ras Ajdir)
  • within 30km of the border with Algeria south of, and including, the town of Jendouba (this area includes the archaeological sites of Bulla Regia and Chemtou)
  • the governorate of Kasserine, including the town of Sbeitla

If you travel to the interior of Tunisia, you should do so with a reputable tour guide.

There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. 

A terrorist attack took place at the Bardo museum in the centre of Tunis on 18 March. A number of people were killed, including a British national. Further attacks are possible. You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator.

424,707 British nationals visited Tunisia in 2014. Most British tourists stay in the coastal resorts and most visits are trouble free.

In the resort areas, the dress code is much like any European city or tourist area. In other parts of the country you should dress more modestly.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Tunisia.

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Burundi Travel Warning: Political Demonstrations Expected in Burundi Monday 9 December 2013

Political demonstrations are expected in Burundi on Monday 9 December in Independence square, the central market, the University of Burundi, and the Cathedral Regina Mundi.

You are advised to avoid large crowds and demonstrations or protests in Burundi. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to: within 1 km of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Routes Nationales 5, 9 and 10, to the provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke and to the Rukoko national park.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to all remaining parts of Burundi, except for Bujumbura city, to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the areas of Kanyosha and Kamenge only.

There is no British Embassy in Burundi, but there is a Liaison Office in Bujumbura, which can provide limited consular advice and assistance.

The Belgian Embassy is able to provide consular assistance to British nationals.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

There is a high risk of street crime, particularly whilst withdrawing money. There have been incidents of armed burglary. Avoid travelling by road outside of Bujumbura between 5:30pm 8am. This is due to the security situation and road safety concerns; take extra precautions. There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Al Shabaab has made public threats against Burundi because of its support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. A long running cholera epidemic in Burundi (including Bujumbura) has caused several fatalities during 2013. You should take necessary precautions and seek urgent medical attention if you are unwell.

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Sardinia Travel Advice and Warnings: State Of Emergency Declared

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Sardinia. Due to heavy rains and flooding a state of emergency has been declared in Sardinia.

Flight disruptions might occur at both Olbia airport and Cagliari airport. Many roads in the north are blocked. The main road between north and south, SS131, has not been closed but there are long delays due to flooding and subsidence. Train connections might also be affected.

The Italian Civil Protection Agency is closely monitoring the situation and is on site to provide assistance. Torrential rains are also affecting the south of Italy, in particular Calabria and Puglia and there are high waters in Venice. Local public transport strikes may affect travel at short notice.

Over 2.5 million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

If you are visiting a ski resort you should take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel and familiarise yourself with local skiing laws and regulations. 

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Travel Advice and Warnings Italy: Large Demonstrations Are Expected To Take Place In Rome On 18 And 19 October

Over 2.5 million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Large demonstrations are expected to take place in Rome on 18 and 19 October. You should take extra care and avoid all demonstrations.

Local public transport strikes may affect travel at short notice.

If you are visiting a ski resort you should take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel and familiarise yourself with local skiing laws and regulations. 

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Travel Advice Philippines: 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits The Island Of Bohol

Around 113,282 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. A major 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Bohol on Tuesday at 08:12 local time (0012 GMT).

The epicentre was 629 km from Manila. Cebu City is about 60 km away. There have been some reports of casualties on Cebu. The initial earthquake was followed by two aftershocks, each measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a Pacific-wide tsunami threat. The United States Geological Survey have issued a yellow warning saying “some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localised.

Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response.”

British nationals affected by the earthquake are asked to contact the Consular Section in Manila at +63 02 858 2200.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons. There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.

The FCO is aware of a credible and imminent kidnap threat against foreigners in Zamboanga del Norte Province in Mindanao.

On 10 October the US Embassy issued an emergency message to US citizens warning them of the continuing threat from terrorism in southern Mindanao, including Davao, North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudurat, Sarangani and Maguindinao.

On 16 September 2013 the Philippine Bureau of Immigration warned foreign nationals against joining rallies and other mass action protests. Foreign nationals taking part in these rallies may face deportation for violating Philippine immigration laws.

On 9 September 2013 armed clashes took place between militants and the Philippines security forces in Zamboanga city. Sporadic fighting continues and the city’s airport has been closed. A curfew is in place from 8pm until 5am.

The FCO advise against all travel to this region. Any British nationals in Zamboanga city should remain indoors and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, usually between June and November. You should monitor local weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities. With the exception of Philippine Airlines (PAL), all air carriers certified in the Philippines are banned from operating to/from the EU. 

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Travel Advice and News Thailand

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Over 800,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but incidents of crime (sometimes violent) can affect visitors.

Rubber farmers in Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand have been involved in violent anti-government protests which have blocked roads and caused disruption.

You should avoid demonstrations and protests.

The majority of road traffic accidents in Thailand involve motorcycles, but accidents involving other vehicles including cars, coaches and mini-buses also occur.

By law you must carry your passport with you at all times.

Tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport.

Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.

Medical, Travel, Health Insurance for Expatriates, Business Travel and Leisure Travelers/Tourists

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Thailand.

Top tips for Travel to Thailand

Seeking medical, health, travel or expatriate insurance for travel or relocation to Thailand?

You can find a wide range of medical, travel, expatriate and health insurance companies that may be able to provide insurance plans and cover, for group and individual healthcare, when travelling to Thailand, in the iPMI Magazine Thailand Travel, Medical, Expatriate and Health Insurance company guide, click here.

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Travel Advice France

Around 17,100,000 British nationals visit France every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Industrial action by public sector workers on 10 September 2013 may have a limited effect on travel to, from and within France. Check with your travel provider before you leave. There is a general threat from terrorism. The French authorities announced in January 2013 increased security around public buildings and on transport.

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC so you should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. 

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Travel Advice Madagascar

On 5 September 2013, a small bomb exploded in front of the Plaza Hotel on the Avenue de l’Independence in Antananarivo. A second unexploded device was later discovered outside the Insitut Francais nearby. In 2012 there were a number of explosions in Antananarivo linked to civil unrest. The situation in the centre of Antananarivo remains unstable and potentially volatile.

The Ambohijatovo, Lac Anosy, Ankatso and Analakely areas, as well as military barracks, are potential flashpoints. Although foreigners have not been targeted, you should take care when travelling around the city and avoid any crowds or political gatherings. Don’t touch any packages that appear suspect. You should also carry ID at all times and avoid travelling at night.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Andohahela National Park and against all travel on road RN13 between Ambovombe and Ihosy. Take great care and follow local advice if you are travelling in the south east of the country. In 2012 there were around 7,700 British visitors to Madagascar. Most visits are trouble free.

There has been continued political instability in Madagascar since January 2009. The situation in the centre of Antananarivo remains volatile and demonstrations at short notice are likely. You should keep away from crowded areas and avoid going out at night in the centre of the capital. There is widespread crime in Madagascar.

Take particular care on beaches where there have been attacks and robberies. Visitors to Madagascar should travel with established organisations or travel firms who have the capacity to monitor the local media and warn of possible trouble. Remain vigilant and maintain a low profile while moving around the country, in particular if travelling alone.

If travelling independently we advise that you monitor the local media closely and keep abreast of the situation for the duration of your visit.

The cyclone season in Madagascar normally runs from November to April. Coastal areas are particularly affected. Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and has occurred in excess of 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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