Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

S. Africa, Hong Kong Gain Popularity

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

S. Africa, Hong Kong Gain Popularity

Article excerpt

AMERICANS ARE ON the go to destinations around the world. And while tour operators say Great Britain, France, Italy and Mexico will continue to be the most popular foreign destinations, interest in places such as South Africa and Hong Kong is growing.

Members of the U.S. Tour Operators Association report that travel to South Africa has jumped 35 percent from 1994 figures, and interest in Hong Kong is growing from travelers who wish to see it before its 1997 turnover to China.

While most areas offer great and safe experiences, the more exotic destinations, unfortunately, bring more cause to prepare for unforeseen problems. For peace of mind, questions that travelers should ask before booking any foreign destination include concerns about health and possible diseases, the medical situation and whether there are English-speaking doctors, and the existence of political or other problems.

Answers to most of these questions can be obtained through a travel agent who has access to State Department advisories or the Centers for Disease Control.

Travelers might also consider obtaining medical, travel and personal insurance beyond what they now have. Companies such as International SOS Assistance, which provides a range of coverage for both leisure and busi ness travelers, reports it averages 24 medical interventions/evacuations a day. For information, write to the company at P.O. Box 11568, Philadelphia, Pa. 19116; or call (800) 523-8662.

One of the new benefits of travel insurance is the ending of the pr e-existing condition on travel medical policies. CSA Travel Protection, available through travel agents, allows the purchase of policies with this provision, up to seven days from making a deposit on the trip.

"Everyone is eligible to buy this plan and they don't have to make an instant decision about purchasing the protection," said Frank Shellabear, president of CSA's sales divison. …

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