Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomesingaporeTour plans change for some in Singapore after deadly quake in Morocco

Tour plans change for some in Singapore after deadly quake in Morocco

SINGAPORE – Some tour agencies in Singapore face changes in plans for several tours to Morocco after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Marrakech – a popular tourist destination – last Friday. The quake has taken more than 2,900 lives and injured over 5,500 so far. 

Chan Brothers Travel said it has postponed its next group tour, which was scheduled to leave for Morocco on Thursday.

“This decision aligns with our dedication to prioritising the safety and welfare of our valued travellers, especially in the light of the prevailing circumstance,” said its marketing communications executive Samantha Tan.

Apart from this group, 10 other tour groups are scheduled to depart for Morocco between September and December, the agency said. “For those tour groups, we are actively seeking clarity from airlines, hoteliers and our land partners on postponement so that we can communicate any update to affected customers as soon as we have the information,” Ms Tan said.

The Travel Corporation said a majority of its customers who had booked trips to Morocco are proceeding as planned and only a few others have decided to switch to another destination. 

“Guests on our tours in Morocco are safe and we have not postponed or cancelled any trips to Morocco. Tours are running as per normal,” the agency said. 

Intriq Journey, a travel agency that provides customised and bespoke tours, said more than 15 customers had booked trips to Morocco, with most of them planning to travel between December 2023 and February 2024.

“Some are looking at different destinations, some decided to postpone and a small number of clients chose to wait and see,” said the agency’s spokesman.

She said the agency gives its customers a 24/7 emergency contact number in case they need urgent assistance while overseas.

A customer of the agency, Mr Irving Henson, was at the Atlas Mountains in Morocco when the earthquake struck.

He said his hotel was in a shambles after the earthquake struck. He contacted the emergency number given by the agency.

The agency hired a driver to take him about 300km to Casablanca, where he boarded a flight to Bordeaux in France on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised Singaporeans not to travel to places in Morocco affected by the quake, such as Marrakech, Al Haouz, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, unless necessary.

It encouraged Singaporeans to register online with it at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg so that its officials can contact them if needed.

“Travellers should purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance, and be familiar with the terms and coverage,” it said.

Others who had planned trips to Morocco later this year said they are either going ahead or waiting to see how the situation in the country develops before deciding.

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Dynasty Travel said: “It is highly unlikely that our upcoming Morocco trips will be postponed because tours are scheduled to start from November 2023 and clients have not cancelled their trips so far.”

The agency said it has been assured by tour operators in Morocco that most of the major tourist attractions are unaffected by the earthquake.

Ms Zuleikha Aamir, a 34-year-old private tutor, said she had bought non-refundable plane tickets for almost $2,000 to go to Morocco with her 10-year-old son in December.

“I am not willing to take the risk and be stranded with my boy,” said the single mother, who is upset that she may have to cancel the trip. “I took so much time to plan this trip. I had to look for attractions in Marrakech that my boy would like and call the operators to make reservations.”

The time difference between Singapore and Morocco meant Ms Zuleikha had to call the attractions at odd hours here.

“I will not cancel my plane tickets right away. If the earthquake situation clears up over the next few weeks, I will proceed with the trip.”

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