Nieuws - 16 maart 2011

Travellers more affected by ash cloud than current world events

VCK Travel in The Hague, the official travel agent for Wageningen UR, is kept very busy with all that's happening in war-torn and disaster-stricken areas in the world. 'Someone from Wageningen who is now in Bahrain prefers to be back home.'

Wageningen UR is a 'rather active customer', comments Patricia, as Wageningers are often on the go. This VCK employee books tickets for the scientists and students who need to travel by air. The number of cancellations and repatriations are in fact still manageable despite the many war-torn and disaster-stricken areas to which travel has been advised against: Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and, at present, Japan.
'The events in Egypt have messed up the travel plans of about six employees. It's not so bad concerning the other countries.' According to Patricia, no-one from Wageningen was in Japan when the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami occurred. 'But someone is currently in Bahrain. She went there even though she knew of the unrest. But she has now indicated that she would rather be back home earlier than planned.'
The current situation is far from being as serious as that caused by the ash cloud last year. At that time, half of Europe's air traffic was paralysed, and almost every booked journey had to be re-booked or cancelled. 'That affected many from Wageningen UR too', says the travel agent. 'Perhaps hundreds.' 
Whether someone goes to a 'dangerous' area or not is entirely up to the travellers themselves, says Patricia. 'We always inform our customers of the risks but the decision is left to them.' VCK Travel bases its advice mainly on information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is accessible to everyone.