Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

War Industry Brings Problems for Travel Industry

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

War Industry Brings Problems for Travel Industry

Article excerpt

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By Amy Weber Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES - The travel industry is scrambling to get its bearings in the aftermath of the outbreak of fighting in the Persian Gulf.

Cruise lines have rerouted vessels, airlines have changed schedules and some travelers are postponing trips following the events on Jan. 16.

The State Department, which issues warnings on regions where travel should be avoided, issued a new warning on Jan. 16 against travel in the Persian Gulf.

The new issue advises against travel ``near the scene of military operations."

Travelers should also be aware of the threat of terrorist actions against U.S. citizens or property in other locations worldwide and adjust their travel plans accordingly.''

Many airlines are waiving their normal penalties and allowing passengers to rebook or cancel flights. Several airlines have suspended flights into the Middle East.

The crisis has been making waves in the cruise industry since the Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. Bokkings for cruises to the region began dropping off with the start of turmoil.

``We don't have a whole lot of people booked to the Mediterranean,'' said Randy Torrance, owner of Cruise Holidays, a cruise-only travel agency in the Los Angeles suburb of Tarzana.

Not only have bookings dropped off to the Mediterranean, but booking on cruises ``to all of Europe have just practically stopped.''

``Bookings have been way down over last year to Europe as a whole,'' he said.

Several cruise lines are opting to pull their vessels out of the region. According to Torrance, Crystal Cruise Lines rerouted the Crystal Harmony from its late-summer and fall Mediterranean sailings ``a good six to eight weeks ago. They're going to stay in northern Europe.''

On Wednesday, Cunard Line notified the agency that the Sea Goddess, which is normally based in the Mediterranean during the summer, would be used for Alaskan cruises during that time, ``which is a first for them,'' said Torrance. …

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