Is it safe to travel to Turkey? Latest FCDO travel advice explained as earthquake death toll rises

The death toll from a devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has now passed 35,000, making it one of the world’s worst natural disasters in the past decade.

In the early hours of Monday 6 February, a powerful 7.8 magnitude quake hit Gaziantep in the south-east of Turkey.

This was followed by another 7.5 magnitude tremor in the neighbouring province of Kahramanmaras later that day.

Thousands of rescue teams searched for survivors among the rubble of decimated towns and cities in south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria, with the UN warning that the death toll is likely to climb far higher.

The Turkish government has declared a national emergency in 10 provinces affected by the earthquake:

  • Gaziantep
  • Hatay
  • Osmaniye
  • Adıyaman
  • Diyarbakır
  • Sanliurfa
  • Kahramanmaras
  • Kilis
  • Adana
  • Malatya

Here’s everything you need to know if you were planning to travel to Turkey from the UK.

People walk among rubble, in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, in Elbistan town, Kahramanmaras, Turkey February 12, 2023. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah
People walk among rubble, in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, in Elbistan town, Kahramanmaras (Photo: Reuters)

Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

Following the earthquakes, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its guidance for people visiting Turkey from the UK.

It advises: “The Turkish government has stated that only vehicles which carry aid teams and aid materials will be allowed to enter cities deemed to be inside the area of the disaster.

“If you are in the affected area, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

For people who require consular assistance, the FCDO has a 24-hour helpline you can contact at +90 312 455 3344, selecting the option of “consular services for British nationals”. It also has a web contact form, which you can access here.

More on Turkey-Syria earthquake

The FCDO also directs UK travellers to AFAD, the Turkish disaster management service, which operates a

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Jet2 PLC flys past Tui to UK tour operator top spot

Jet2 PLC (AIM:JET2) has overtaken Tui to become the UK’s largest tour operator for the first time after it increased its package holiday capacity for the year ahead.

Jet2holidays, a subsidiary of Jet2 and counterpart to the group’s low-cost airline, has gained licences to provide holidays for up to 5.9mln people annually, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, compared to Tui’s capacity of 5.3mln.

Capacity has been increased by around 600,000 due to a resurgence in demand seen across the aviation industry over the last year with trips now offered to 65 destinations.

Steve Heapy, chief executive, suggested independent travel agents had been vital for Jet2’s growth since its maiden flight in 2007.

“The loyalty of those independent travel agency partners has been absolutely integral to our growth and success,” he said, “I can promise we will repay that faith by continuing to focus resolutely on our partnership approach to working with independent travel agents”.

Tui is set to report first-quarter results on Tuesday, with analysts suggesting the German holidaymaker would likely publish a mixed set of results as it continues repaying aid sent by the government during the pandemic.

Jet2 updated that bookings had strengthened throughout December and January, with package holidays making up around 60% of its winter departures.

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My family travels for 4 months each year. Here’s how our daughter goes to school and why we feel it’s the best education she can get.

Rowena Hennigan's daughter in Spain

Rowena Hennigan’s daughter in Spain.Courtesy of Rowena Hennigan

  • Rowena Hennigan says she left Ireland because the weather affected her daughter’s chronic illness.

  • She says her family takes every opportunity to experience activities and education as they travel.

  • Here’s Hennigan’s story, as told to Kimanzi Constable.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Rowena Hennigan. It has been edited for length and clarity.

My daughter was diagnosed with chronic childhood asthma and was extremely chronically ill at 9 months old. We had 18 months of very little sleep as we tried various medical interventions in Dublin.

The doctors suggested that getting her to a dry climate would help, as the weather in Dublin was making her sicker.

We have European passports, so we could go to many European countries, but we looked for a dry climate; we looked at Italy, Germany, and Spain. My husband is a software engineer, and his company had a remote office in Zaragoza, Spain, so we decided to settle there in 2016.

We had 2 years’ worth of savings to make the move, and we sold items for extra cash

We sold all our furniture on secondhand sites, and we sold the things we knew we couldn’t ship. We made about $4,000 selling our material possessions in Dublin.

We found an Airbnb in Zaragoza that we booked for one year — they gave us a long-term rate. While in Spain, our daughter improved, and we had access to better healthcare.

In Ireland, we were paying 300 euros for a one-hour consultation, and we had to wait months for an appointment with a specialist in child respiratory health on the east coast. Within six weeks of living in Spain, we had access to a consultant in the public-health system, and it was free.

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Win a six-night railway Scotland tour with Ffestiniog Travel

The clue

“At last! Lancashire’s hills,” proclaims my friend, soaking up the scenery. Well, yes, in a sense they are — even though we’re in the wrong county. But I don’t like the look of those clouds. I may have promised Friend a big walk, but the weather suggests it’s a valley day, not an upland one.

So instead we visit a National Trust beauty spot nearby. It’s centred on one of the area’s many 19th-century industrial relics, which — thanks to a sustainable makeover 18 years ago — is as interesting as the woods and gritstone rock around it.

I tell Friend we must follow its beck until it reaches a market town, two miles southeast, that’s found fame in a television series. Meanwhile, he grumbles about the lack of promised hill-walking. “You’re all mouth and no trousers,” he mutters as we wander the streets. “Unlike this town,” I tell him — then whisk him off to a second market town, four miles southwest of the first.

Friend is impressed by its neoclassical town hall, opened in the mid-1870s. “Oh, there’s nothing shoddy about this place,” I tell him. “Although you couldn’t say that about some towns east of here. Shall we take a look?”

“No, we’re going for a walk,” he insists.

When I remind him how hard it can rain in these parts, his patience snaps. “Stop trying to police my day!” he cries.

Half an hour later we’re on the moors, above a reservoir, three miles northeast of the first valley town. “Happy?” I ask.

“As an escaped convict,” he purrs.

The questions

1 What’s the name of the National Trust beauty spot?
2 What’s the name of the second market town?

The prize

The winner and guest will enjoy a six-night, self-guided Highland

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Cutting Back on Spending Due to Inflation? How To Save on Dining Out, Travel and Groceries

SDI Productions / Getty Images

SDI Productions / Getty Images

Inflation has hammered our wallets over the past year, as a poll by GOBankingRates that launched in April 2022 shows. The poll, which garnered over 20,000 responses, found that Americans have made cutbacks on the following categories: dining out (39%), travel (16%), groceries (13%), gas (7%) and other (4%). Twenty percent of respondents said they haven’t cut back on any expenses.

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Though inflation has cooled a bit in recent months, it hasn’t died down completely. And, with a recession on the horizon, many consumers are still in a pinch to trim costs. How can one cut back on categories where savings are top of mind, including dining out, travel and groceries? Let’s see what the experts recommend.

How To Save on Dining Out

The poll found that 39% of consumers made cutbacks on dining out amid inflation. Here are some evergreen ways to save on this expense.

Do a Little Research Online

Restaurants often run specials — that amount to savings — that you can find out about if you subscribe to their newsletters and/or follow them on social media.

“Always check online for any deals, vouchers, and offers your chosen restaurant may currently be running,” said Yasmin Purnell, a personal finance expert and the founder of The Wallet Moth. Often, a simple check can secure you an offer for a free dessert, or a discounted three-course meal.”

Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are also solid discounts destinations.

Live Richer Podcast: How To Leverage Your Investments

Use the Right Credit Card

Some credit cards are better for

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TTG – Travel industry news

Despite this, the decade ended with fresh demand for the bonding of UK tour operators following the collapse of Wright’s Holidays, which saw a draw on Abta’s common fund of £400,000 in today’s money – nearly half its war chest.

The move resulted in Abta’s man in parliament, MP Kenneth Lewis, seeking compulsory powers from the Air Transport Licensing Board to oversee operators’ financial standing.


Meanwhile, the abolition of retail price maintenance rules on some foreign holidays meant, for example, winter packages to Majorca could be marketed at £32 and eight shillings – £17 below the lowest available scheduled air fare – while Kuoni was now allowed to market 14-day Kenya beach and safari tours for £150 (£2,192 today).


What did it all mean?


As TTG reported extensively, the travel industry in the 1960s was characterised by rapid growth and technological advances including jet aircraft that began to make mass travel affordable.

Like any immature industry, there were casualties among its players that saw travel leaders and politicians begin to voice concerns about consumers being at risk of losing their money.

Firstly, there was the question of the long gap between paying for a holiday and taking it – back then, there was no guarantee customers would be refunded if the operator went bust.

Then there was the issue of who paid for repatriation of clients abroad. It was initially Abta that stepped in with its own solution, one that was not popular because it meant that without an Abta membership, trading was very difficult.

As the 1960s ended, the government showed a growing realisation of the threat of operators taking large amounts of money months before they delivered travel arrangements to the consumer and began to explore the idea of the Atol system we recognise today via the creation

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Bargain Travelers Beware: Hotel Rates to Remain High This Summer


Travelers hoping for a hotel rate reprieve this summer after last year’s higher room rates may need to perform some extra legwork to find a bargain. Marriott reports they will feature higher hotel rates this year per room, although travelers shouldn’t expect the percentage hikes to be anywhere near as high as they were in 2022.

Will higher hotel rates keep the guests away? Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano doesn’t believe so. During a recent Investment Summit in Los Angeles, Capuano assuaged industry professionals’ concerns that “we do not think we have tapped all of the pent-up demand that’s out there for travel.”

With steady demand and more people willing to travel as the pandemic moves further away from their primary concerns, finding a discount may be a challenging search this summer.

Should hoteliers relax this season and wait for rooms to book at any price? Travel expert and Ask A Concierge’s Sarah Dandashy believes prudence and preparation for travelers and hoteliers alike is the best bet in this current climate.

Sarah’s Thoughts

“There has been a lot of talk lately about what we can expect moving forward into the summer of 2023 regarding hotel room rates. Will they still be as pricey and expensive as we saw in 2022? The short answer is yes, although the price jump won’t be as significant as we saw last year. Marriott’s CEO recently shared this information as well.

As far as this price hike and how it will impact travel demands, it is not so significant that it will deter travelers from traveling. Travelers expect that they are going to be paying a premium. They understand and value their paid time off, and there has been this consumer travel consumer shift that they will pay the price to go and have their

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The Best Time to Book a Hotel to Save Money

The early bird doesn’t always get the worm.

<p>Flashpop/Getty Images</p>

Accommodations are one of the biggest travel expenses out there, sometimes ending up even more costly than transportation. So it’s never a bad idea to maximize your savings when booking a hotel. One way to do that is to book at the right moment. Hotel prices are dynamic, fluctuating based on supply and demand — that means the price you see when you’re searching for hotels one day might change the very next, even if the dates of your stay remain the same. So, when is the best time to book a hotel? Read on to find out.

Related: The Best Time to Book a Flight for Domestic, International, and Summer Travel

<p>Frank Rothe/Getty Images</p>

When to Book a Hotel to Save Money

Figuring out the best time to book a hotel isn’t an exact science — there’s plenty of variation throughout the industry. But if we’re looking at statistics, the lowest prices for hotel rooms are typically found just 15 days before your stay. Yes, last-minute bookings are (usually) better. A 2022 NerdWallet study analyzed more than 2,500 hotel room rates from 2019 through the first half of 2021 and found an average of 13 percent savings for those who booked 15 days in advance as compared to those who booked four months in advance.

Keep in mind this is just an average and doesn’t take into account busy travel periods, such as the holidays, when you should definitely book in advance. And according to data from the travel app Hopper, the 15-day benchmark is a good one for big business cities, such as New York and Chicago, but it’s not as accurate for vacation destinations like the Caribbean or Hawaii. In those destinations, Hopper notes that hotel rates are usually lowest about

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Here’s How To Set Your Brand Apart For Consumers

Sergio Alvarez is a performance marketing expert, digital attribution leader and CEO and founder of Ai Media Group.

The travel industry has taken major hits in the last few years. What was once a thriving and robust global industry was shut down when the pandemic hit. Over time, as restrictions eased, we saw the industry start to crawl again, then stand up and walk. Today, travel seems ready to set into a full gallop, but the question remains: Is your travel business ready for this?

For the first time in decades, we might see demand start to outstrip supply in tourism and travel, and the businesses that win the most bookings will be those that set themselves apart from the pack.

Don’t Discount The Virus Just Yet

Although another major lockdown in response to Covid-19 is unlikely, the travel industry would be remiss to forget the impact that the pandemic had on the general public. Many travelers are now far more aware of the risk of transmissible illnesses while traveling, and companies that take precautions will endear themselves to a large number of customers. Although airlines, cruise liners and hotels don’t need to go as far as making the travel experience restrictive, travelers will appreciate enhanced cleaning protocols or improved HVAC systems to make them feel safer while using your travel service.

Many travelers had deeply unpleasant experiences when the pandemic hit. Some were stuck on trips and unable to get home, and others lost money on deposits for trips that were forced to be canceled. The travel industry can help build a sense of trust in its customers by focusing on new protocols to prevent this from happening again.

Personalization Is Key

Travel is a long-term experiences/” data-ga-track=”ExternalLink:” aria-label=”feel-good experience”feel-good experience. Although purchasing

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Look out for safari tours, bargains at Natas fair from Feb 24

SINGAPORE – Travellers looking for bargains can shop for tour package deals at the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) fair, as the travel sector continues its rebound since international borders reopened.

Returning for its 57th edition, the fair will be held from Feb 24 to Feb 26 at Singapore Expo Hall 5.

Travel agencies will form the bulk of the more than 50 exhibitors at the event, along with cruise operators and national tourist organisations from Thailand, Japan and Taiwan.

Visitors can expect a plethora of travel deals and tour packages at the fair, themed “The World of Natas”.

For instance, Chan Brothers Travel will be offering tour packages to China after the recent announcement on its reopening of borders.

Travellers to China will be able to enjoy some of the best-selling destinations pre-Covid-19, such as Beijing, Jiangnan, Yunnan and Fujian.

Mr Jeremiah Wong, senior marketing communications manager for Chan Brothers Travel, told The Straits Times that safari tours are also returning for the first time since the pandemic, and travellers to East Africa can go on a 10-day tour to watch the migration of more than two million animals.

EU Holidays, one of the exhibitors at the upcoming fair, will also be offering package deals to China. The agency also has special curated theme tours like marathon, cycling and fly-cruise packages, said Ms Mandy Chen, marketing manager of EU Holidays.

The Natas travel fair was last held in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Many people are looking to explore the world as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, said Mr Steven Ler, president of Natas, adding that they can seek advice from the exhibitors at the fair on their holiday needs.

The public can visit travel/”www.natas for more information.

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