The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Intrepid.
With this in mind, we monitor world events very closely. Intrepid makes operations decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources.
1. The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT)
For any Intrepid-operated trip, if DFAT’s advisory is at ‘Do Not Travel’ then Intrepid will either cancel the trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned.
2. Staff on the ground
With over 400 leaders on the ground in operational destinations and subsidiary companies in our main hub cities, Intrepid has access to an up-to-the-minute flow of information regarding the mood and feeling within the countries we work in. We are also in regular contact with the various operators we use. Their in-depth knowledge and understanding of their various areas is vital.
3. Other government travel advisories
Most countries’ governments provide their own travel advice. See below for links to some of the larger ones:
On 21 April 2019 a series of bomb attacks took place in central Colombo, the northern Colombo suburb of Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa resulting in around 300 casualties and 500 injured. A number of suspects have now been detained and police operations are ongoing.
All our travellers and leaders who are travelling with us on trips in Sri Lanka at this time are safe and have been accounted for, as are our office staff in Colombo. Travellers have all been advised to call home to let family and friends know they are safe. Internet connections in Colombo are currently slow, and social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Viber has been blocked. We advise any worried family and friends to contact travellers in Sri Lanka by email or phone.
The safety of our travellers in the country is first priority and we are closely monitoring foreign travel advisories for the latest travel advice as well as the advice of local authorities. Following the attacks, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advice was upgraded a level to “Reconsider your need to travel”. This level advises travellers to take additional safety precautions and have contingency plans in place.
Given this level of advice, the strong security presence and increased monitoring of movement within the country, we have made the decision not to cancel our trips in Sri Lanka at this time for those travellers who wish to continue. Our local operations team are following the advice of local authorities and all trips in country are continuing to run with increased safety precautions and minor itinerary changes.
We are in regular communication with our local operations team in Sri Lanka and will keep all travellers as updated as possible with any changes to trips through their group leaders on the ground.
We understand that given the recent events, some travellers may not feel comfortable remaining in Sri Lanka and may instead choose to return home. Leaders are assisting any travellers who wish to leave their trip early to make arrangements to get to the airport. We strongly recommend that travellers in country contact their travel insurance provider before making arrangements to leave their trip.
For those who still wish to travel to Sri Lanka, we have made the following changes to itineraries for all trips until 7 May based on local and DFAT advice:
- Replacing any overnight stays and activities in Colombo with Mt Lavinia. Any post-trip accommodation or transfers will be rebooked at the new accommodation in Mt Lavinia
- Avoiding visits to sights of religious significance including Temple of the Tooth (Kandy) and the Bodhi Tree Temple (Anuradhapura)
- Replacing any public bus and train trips with private transport
As the situation on the ground remains dynamic, any further updates and changes will be communicated to travellers through their group leader once on trip. Should the situation escalate significantly before departure of upcoming trips and require major changes or cancellation, we will contact travellers.
Travellers have the option of changing to a later date of departure to Sri Lanka, or to another destination with us without any change fees. Please contact your booking agent as soon as possible should you wish to cancel. If there are costs incurred as a result of changes or cancellation, please contact us for an insurance letter to assist with your travel insurance claim.
We are aware of the announcement about The U.S. Treasury Department issuing new restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba. There is very little information about when these restrictions would be implemented, and even less information about what or who this impacts.
Consistent with the Administration’s interest in avoiding negative impacts on Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, we believe it is likely that people-to-people group tours with a chaperone that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized; this would include our Intrepid Travel “Hola Cuba - People to People for US citizens (QUKP)” tour. In the event we cannot operate your trip due to these restrictions, we will be accommodating with refunds.
There is no impact on Intrepid trips in Cuba at this time and will continue to operate as normal.
We have 3 trips on the ground at the moment and all groups are safe and sound.
Most of the water resided quickly, and fortunately our groups were unaffected aside from some heavy rain.
If you have any questions please contact your booking agent.
Following a terrorist attack in Kashmir on 14 February, India's military response on 26 February and reports of air force incidents over border areas of the disputed region of Kashmir, there is increased tension in the region. There are reports of suspended and/or cancelled flights for some airports in North India. Airport operations and flight schedules may change at short notice. Intrepid does not operate any trips in the disputed areas of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. There is no impact on Intrepid trips in India at this time.
On 15 January 2019 there was a terrorist attack at
All of our groups, leaders, and local staff are safe. All itineraries in Kenya will continue to run as scheduled.
On Friday 28 December 2018 a roadside bomb struck a tourist bus in the Giza region near Cairo. At least 3 people have been killed, and a further 11 injured in the incident.
All of our group, leaders, and local staff are safe. All itineraries in Egypt will continue to run as scheduled.
Any minor changes to itineraries will be managed on the ground by our operations team based on the advice of local authorities and will be communicated through your group leader.
Our local office is constantly monitoring local Ministry of Tourism updates and has regional advisors to keep them abreast on events. We will continue to monitor the situation through our local operations team in Cairo along with government foreign travel advisories.
If you have any questions please contact your booking agent.
Recent media reports have been covering the fraudulent helicopter rescue scams occurring in Nepal. Travel insurance providers have threatened to stop cover for tourists visiting Nepal if the local authorities didn’t start cracking down on the issue.
We have been aware of this practice being common from other tour operators for some time and are pleased to see that the Nepalese Government is now implementing well-overdue measures to mitigate against it. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and relies heavily on tourism. The actions of unethical operators puts both the local tourism industry and traveller safety at risk.
Intrepid Group is the largest trekking operator in the country and our incidence of helicopter rescue is very low. In 2017 less than 2% of our customers trekking at altitude needed a medivac by helicopter due to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This rate is low not only because we don't take kickbacks for helicopter evacuations but also because trekking leaders receive specialist training on how to recognise and treat AMS symptoms, so that they are able to identify when AMS is serious enough to require descent. In many cases, AMS can be treated by descending a few hundred metres and does not require a helicopter evacuation.
On Monday 17 December 2018 the bodies of two Scandinavian hikers were found murdered in a remote part of the High Atlas Mountains, about 6 miles from Imlil. Moroccan authorities have since arrested 4 individuals in connection with the murders, including 1 they say had links to “an extremist group”.
No Intrepid groups were affected and all itineraries in Morocco are operating as normal.
We will continue to monitor developments closely via our local operations team and government advice.