By Steph Crosier
After recent events in the travel industry, there are mixed opinions on whether it is safe to travel.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on Jan. 13. Sheila Nabb of Calgary was beaten in an elevator at a five star resort. At the same resort Scott Giddy of Fergus, Ont., was viciously beaten last spring. Finally vacationers travelling home from Cuba are coming home with nausea and diarrhea.
Even with these recent dangers Janet Leavey, coordinator of the business administration program, teacher, and travel agent, says it is big wide world and people should continue to travel. Leavey says that banditos, robbers, and drug lords influence a lot of the violence in Mexico.
“The safer areas of Mexico would be the ones to focus on,” said Leavey. “That would be on the advice of a travel agent and also the Canadian government.”
On the Canadian foreign affairs website there are travel reports and warnings. Danger ratings include exercise normal security precautions, exercise high degree of caution, avoid non-essential travel, and avoid all travel. According to the website, travellers to Mexico need to exercise a high degree of caution.
The website also recommended to avoid all non-essential travel to the Mexico- United Stares border. Leavey said that the Canadian government is going to do more if the countries being visited are too dangerous.
“I think that the Canadian government is going to take a firmer stand on maybe putting a stop sale on destinations where there has been so much corruption,” said Leavey.
Maureen Webster of Woburn, MA, started the website mexicovacationawareness.com after her son was killed in Mexico.
“He arrived on Jan.6 and was dead on Jan. 7,” said Webster.
Webster has travelled to Washington D.C. several times to meet with congressmen and senators who have now introduced a bill into the Senate.
“The International Travel bill of rights act would require any online tour operator or travel seller to inform their consumer prior to them purchasing their trip,” said Webster. “They would be informed to any state department travel warnings or alerts to the country.”
The bill would also require any online hotel websites to inform their consumers about safety features like lifeguards who know CPR, defibrillator, and reliable security personnel.
If a person were to travel south for a beach vacation, Leavey suggests the Dominion Republic or Cuba.
Cruises, said Leavey, will not suffer as much as people may think.
“In regards to the cruise ships I see big things happening in the future,” said Leavey. “What I see happening is people who have always cruised will continue to cruise but there will be a lot of discounts offered to motivate people to buy again.”
Leavey said that the cruise industry would only be hurt by on first time buyers.
Emily Bohusz, student in Loyalist College’s social services worker program, travelled to the Dominican Republic in early December for a friend’s wedding. She said she felt completely safe.
“I was at a really high-end resort and they had security staff every couple hundred feet,” said Bohusz. “At night time they were waiting on all the walkways trying to help you get home if you were lost or intoxicated and they would walk you to your door.”
Bohusz also said at night the security would watch the beach to make sure intoxicated people did not try and go swimming. The whole time she was in a tropical paradise she felt completely safe and she would return.
“In a heartbeat.”