Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Tourists still stranded in Africa after airport fire

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Twenty-three Taiwanese tourists yesterday remained stranded in Africa, as Kenya’s Kenyatta International Airport, a major travel hub in Africa, remained closed following a fire last week that severely damaged it.

As of press time, the Tourism Bureau confirmed that a tour group arranged by Sunday Tour travel agency, with 11 tourists, was getting ready to move from an airport in Zambia to Kenyatta International Airport.

Another tour, arranged by Classic Express, was still trying to work out return flights from Kenya.

The bureau said the group from Sunday Tour had been scheduled to return on Thursday last week. The one from Classic Express was supposed to return on Saturday. Statistics from the bureau show that another 53 Taiwanese tourists are traveling in Kenya at the moment, in groups arranged by Classic Express, Sunday Tour and Modern Tour. They are scheduled to return on Thursday, and Monday and Saturday next week.

The bureau said that the travel agencies have arranged appropriate accommodations and meals.

A tourist surnamed Yang (楊), who was scheduled to return on Thursday last week, complained in a TV interview that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not offer them any assistance.

“Older members in our group have run out of medicine for their chronic illnesses. Everybody wants to go home because we are so tired, physically and psychologically. Kenya Airways has stopped providing free meals and accommodation, and the group’s morale has hit rock bottom,” she said.

David Wang (王建業), director-general of the ministry’s Department of West Asian and African Affairs, said their information showed that the airport in Kenya had yet to resume normal operations.

Travel Land Express deputy manager Chen Ming-feng (陳民峰) monitors the Middle East tour market for the Travel Quality Assurance Association. He said that what happened at Kenyatta International Airport is unlikely to affect tour groups heading to Kenya, which is known for its wildlife.

“We can choose flights landing in the other airports,” he said.

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