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11 flights to Dubai airport diverted due to electrical fault

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Eleven flights to Dubai International Airport were diverted on Sunday evening due to an electrical problem at the airport, operator Dubai Airports confirmed.

A spokesperson told Gulf News that the disruption was “brief,” with normal operations already restored at Dubai International.

“Dubai Airports can confirm that normal operations at Dubai International were briefly disrupted on Sunday evening due to a technical problem involving the airfield lighting, leading to the diversion of 11 inbound flights,” the Dubai Airports spokesperson said.

“Dubai Airports worked with airlines and other service partners to restore normal operations within the hour.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers were affected by the diversion or whether other flights were delayed.

Online reports on social media websites said that Dubai International faced an electrical issue that led to some flights being held, adding that some flights including those operated by Emirates and flydubai were being diverted to Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International.

Emirates and flydubai confirmed that the electrical issue at Dubai International disrupted a number of their flights on Sunday night and caused some delays and temporary closure of the airport.

A technical problem had affected the runway lighting system at Dubai’s main passenger hub. Some of the incoming flights — seven of them are operated by flydubai and the others by Emirates — were diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport.

“Due to the temporary closure of Dubai International Airport on 17 June 2018, a small number of Emirates flights were diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). The affected flights continued their journey to Dubai International Airport (DXB) as soon as the airport reopened,” a spokesperson told Gulf News.

Airlines could not confirm how many passengers were affected, but a spokesperson for flydubai assured that they had tried to minimize the delays.

“Seven of our flights to Dubai were diverted. We worked hard so that passengers could continue their journey to Dubai International and onwards and to minimize disruption for departing passengers,” the spokesperson for flydubai said.

“All the flights diverted to Al Maktoum International and our operations returned to schedule last night.”


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Dubai Tourism encourages transit visitors to UAE

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Dubai Tourism has unveiled a new installation at Dubai International’s Terminal 3 that’s hoped to encourage transit visitors to return to the emirate.

The new facility at DXB – called ‘MyDubai Experience’ – will enable passengers to virtually explore Dubai.

Dubai International saw 89 million passengers use the transport hub last year, which included around 70 million transit passengers.

Last week, the UAE cabinet adopted a number of “visa facilitations” for visitors, residents, families and people overstaying their visa to cater for a wider segment of the society. The cabinet approved a decision to exempt transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours. A transit visa can be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of AED 50.

The ‘MyDubai Experience’ is the latest initiative aimed at tapping into the large percentage of passengers who pass through DXB.

The interactive and immersive digital installation set up in Terminal 3, Concourse A draws on wide array of content to optimally showcase Dubai’s destination offerings.

Passengers can register to receive a tailor-made two-day Dubai itinerary based on the passengers’ interests and preferred experiences, plus entry into monthly competition offering a chance to win their luxury holiday in Dubai.

Launched by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), in collaboration with Dubai Airports and Emirates airline, the activation is designed to provide a futuristic and innovative way for travellers to discover and learn more about the city without setting foot outside the airport.

The next planned enhancement for the MyDubai Experience include the launch of two ‘photo-booths’ that will allow users to take a photograph of themselves, overlaid with a choice of illustrated filters, similar to those found in popular mobile phone apps.

The resulting email-friendly image will serve as an amusing memento of the user’s stop in Dubai, and can also be shared on social media channels.

The ultimate goal is to inspire the millions of transit passengers passing through DXB to revisit Dubai in the near future by showing them everything they can experience during a holiday in the city.

Available in eight languages, the touch screens give travellers access to a vast array of Dubai-related information and visuals – attractions, landmarks, activities, experiences, itineraries, maps and much more – all filtered according to their personal preferences and interests.

“Dubai International is the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, and with millions of travellers transiting in Dubai every year, there is a huge market waiting to be tapped,” said Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).

“Our aim is to encourage these passengers to enjoy an extended stopover in Dubai, to exit the airport and experience the city. We want them to view their transit in Dubai not as an unwanted delay in their travels from A to B, but as a fantastic opportunity to add value to their journey.

“The MyDubai Experience is the perfect way for them to get a glimpse of all that’s possible in this great city, no matter what their budget or interests, helping them to realise that a stay here – even if only for a day or two – truly is an opportunity they won’t want to miss.”


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Emirates announces to hire cabin crew in Australia

Monitoring Desk

SYDNEY: The Dubai-based airline is looking for Australian workers and is holding Recruitment Day in Sydney this Saturday.

“It is an exciting time for us as Emirates continues to grow both globally and within Australia”, Emirates Divisional Vice President for Australasia, Barry Brown said.

Anyone interested in a cabin crew career is encouraged to attend and have any questions answered.

Well, we have a few.

On the airline’s careers page, there is mention of a required arm reach of 212cm while standing on tiptoes.

We can only assume that’s so they can reach the baggage compartments. But Emirates and Qatar are the only airlines in the world that appear to require such detailed length specifications.

Job hunters are also given some “application tips” including on how to dress for work.

A picture of a member of cabin crew can be seen applying a thick layer of red lipstick, next to the headline ‘The perfect application’.

Grooming guidelines are a big part of how assessors will pick applicants, with full-length photos sent in prior to assessment day requiring ‘visible makeup’ for the ladies.

There is a no glasses rule either, so prepare your contact lenses.

While the requirements may seem odd or possibly amusing, there are some fantastic benefits not to snigger at in becoming an Emirates cabin crew.

Tax free income for one, and attractive concessional travel benefits for family and friends across the entire Emirates global network.

By that they mean, cheaper flights to their 159 destinations.




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Air passenger traffic up in Europe in April

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Air passenger traffic in Europe rose 5 percent year-on-year in April, an airport authority said on Monday. “As has occurred in previous months, the non-EU market led the growth dynamic, holding fast at 10.4 percent, on the back of Turkish airports increasing their passenger traffic by an impressive 13.9%,” Airports Council International (ACI) Europe said in a statement.

Air passenger traffic in the EU was also on the rise with 3.4 percent in April 2018, compared with earlier months.

“This was mainly due to the combination of labor disruptions, the continued impact of the bankrupticies of Monarch and Air Berlin, stronger tourism demand to Turkey and Northern Africa impacting some EU leisure airports – as well as the Easter holiday period starting earlier (in March) when compared to last year,” according to the report. ACI Europe said that passenger traffic in the top five European airports saw passenger growth weakening to 2.4 percent compared to 9.6 percent in Q1.

“The Air France strikes had an impact on Paris-CDG (-3.5 percent) – so far, the airport has lost more than 700.000 passengers due to industrial action at the airline.

“There were also lower passenger numbers at London-Heathrow (-2.2 percent). Istanbul-Ataturk (+10.7 percent) kept posting the best performance amongst the league, followed by Frankfurt (+5.8 percent) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (+3.0 percent),” it added.

ACI Europe also revealed that freight traffic kept its upward trend, rising 3.9 percent year-on-year in April.

The Airports Council International (ACI) Europe airport traffic report includes 243 airports in total, representing more than 88 percent of European air passenger traffic. AA


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Dozens flight canceled to Italy due to Italian air-traffic control strike

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Dozens of flights between the UK and Italy have been cancelled as Italian air-traffic controllers join a day of industrial action by public servants.

The controllers will stop work between 1pm and 5pm, grounding flights on the busiest time of the week. Alitalia is worst hit, with more than 100 cancellations – including services to and from Heathrow.

At Gatwick, easyJet has cancelled two round-trips to Rome and Milan, and services to and from Catania, Naples, Olbia, Venice, Verona. A Bristol to Rome round-trip has been axed.

Two British Airways flights from Heathrow to Milan, one departure to Rome and flights to Venice from both Gatwick and London City have been grounded.

Ryanair, which has a busy Italian domestic network, has cancelled many flights, including six between Rome and Catania in Sicily. Some UK-Italy services have been cancelled, including Stansted to Milan and Rome.

The Irish budget airline, which is the biggest in Europe, said: “Due to yet another Italian strike, Ryanair regrets to inform customers that it has been forced to cancel a number of flights on Friday (8 June).

“All affected customers have been contacted by email and text message and advised of their options: a full refund, rebooking on to the next available flight or transferring to an alternative flight.

“As a result of this unjustified strike action, we also expect delays to flights to/from/over Italy and we advise customers due to travel on Friday to check the status of their flight on the website.”

Another strike is planned for 5 July.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled, diverted or severely delayed areentitled to meals and, if necessary, accommodation at the airline’s expense until they can reach their destination.

Travellers who manage to reach Italy may find local transport disrupted. Workers on buses and trams in Rome, Turin and Verona are staging a 24-hour strike.

Elsewhere in Europe, thunderstorms are forecast to cause problems. Eurocontrol is warning: “Thunderstorms and cumulonimbus activity expected over a large part of Europe today: expect disruption and delay in consequence.”

The air-traffic HQ in Brussels also warns of congestion causing high delays at Gatwick and moderate delays at Lisbon. Passengers at Amsterdam are facing disruption due to low visibility.

On Saturday and Sunday, it is the turn of French air-traffic controllers in the Marseille Area Control Centre to walk out.

The centre covers the southeast quarter of France, the island of Corsica and a large tranche of Mediterranean airspace extending as far south as the southern tip of Sardinia.

Flights to and from Nice, Lyon and Corsica are likely to be affected, and journeys to Mediterranean destinations may take longer as pilots are routed around the affected airspace.

Friday is the second day of the latest 48-hour strike by French rail workers. Four out of five TGV high-speed trains are predicted to run by the national operator, SNCF, but on conventional inter-city routes and some suburban lines around half the services have been cancelled.

Eurostar has four trains between London and Paris. Passengers can switch to alternative services or claim a full refund.

The strikes are set to continue every five days until 28 June, but could be extended over the peak holiday months of July and August.


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Thailand to build two new airports to serve more visitors

Monitoring Desk

BANGKOK: In the same week that one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, Maya Bay, closed for four months as a result of overtourism, Airports of Thailand (AOT) board of directors approved the construction of two new airports – one in Chiang Mai and one in Phuket.

Both popular tourist destinations, Phuket and Chiang Mai already have an airport apiece, but the additions are planned to accommodate increasing demand. According to AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, each new airport will cost around 60 billion Thai baht, with construction starting in 2019.

The second Chiang Mai airport will be built in Lamphun’s Ban Thi district, while Phuket’s will be constructed in Phang Nga’s Ban Khok Kruad district. Both are anticipated to be completed by 2025 at the latest – and serve an extra 10 million tourists.

Very much a victim of its own success, Maya Bay shot to fame after the release of Danny Boyle’s adaptation of Alex Garland’s novel The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio back in 2000. Found on Koh Phi Phi Leh, Maya Bay has seen a rapid increase of visitors over the last 20 years, with as many as 5,000 people arriving each day on boat trips from the bustling mainland resorts of Krabi and Phuket during high season (November to February).

As a result, snorkelling, swimming and power boats have caused devastating damage to the local reefs. According to research, 72 per cent of Thailand’s coral reef is under threat, with a rapid deterioration occurring in the last ten years. Polluted water from seaside hotels, the dumping of plastic waste and damage from boat anchors are the main causes.

The poor condition of Maya Bay and images showing people packed onto the sand in vast crowds have finally spurred local authorities into action, with Maya Bay now closed until September 30 to allow the corals time to recover.

Dorothy Heng, director of Eastravel, said the company has been warning visitors about the condition on Maya Bay for some time. “We have taken care to advise those who wish to include the experience on their itinerary of the overcrowding and damage to the environment that this new fame has caused,” she said. “We hope that closing Maya Bay will allow nature to recover.”

In the wake of such drastic action, the approval of the new airports has been criticised by environmentalists who argue that not only are popular Thai destinations like Maya Bay suffering, but that the infrastructure is not in place to accommodate yet another influx of visitors.

Thailand’s overtourism problem has been widely reported with low-cost holidays pedalled in Chinese markets attributed much of the blame.

According to Ministry of Tourism and Sports Permanent Secretary, Pongpanu Svetarundra, visits from the Asian country alone increased by almost 32 per cent in April. Chinese visitors accounted for just under 46 per cent of all inbound tourists to the country during this time – a staggering 987,000 out of over 2.1 million. Overall, visitor numbers to Thailand increased by 8.8 per cent in 2017 to 35.4 million, with Chinese tourists the largest single national group.

It appears that the reports have put off British tourists though, with the number of UK visitors to the country dropping by almost 13 per cent in April.

Just last week, Lee Cobaj, Telegraph Travel’s expert in Bangkok commented that it was “good to see Thailand putting nature ahead of profits for once”. But the announcement of the new airports goes against all that locals and environmentalists have struggled to achieve.

Today, Lee told Telegraph Travel; “the temporary closure of Maya Bay to allow the marine environment to recover is, of course, a step in the right direction, but it’s really little more than a sticking plaster in a region being crushed under the weight of tourism.”

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Greece facing problems due to overtourism

Monitoring Desk

GREECE: Greece has faced a few problems in recent years. Attracting tourists hasn’t been one.

The country is expected to welcome a record 32 million foreign travellers in 2018 – up from just 6.2 million in 1998 and 15 million in 2010. No major European destination has seen a bigger increase in visitor numbers this decade.

Tourism is the shining light in Greece’s otherwise downtrodden economy. It has helped prop up a nation battling bankruptcy and a quarter of residents need the industry to make a living. But there is growing concern that it cannot cope with its burgeoning popularity for much longer.

Rapid growth means strained infrastructure and overcrowding in big cities and at major attractions. During recent months we have seen tension between locals and visitors in destinations including Barcelona, Venice, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Madrid, Mallorca and Kyoto, and “overtourism” has become something of a buzzword. Could Greece become the next battleground?

Nikos Chrysogelos, the Greek politician and environmentalist, fears so. “We can’t keep having more and more tourists,” he told the Observer. “We can’t have small islands, with small communities, hosting one million tourists over a few months. There’s a danger of the infrastructure not being prepared, of it all becoming a huge boomerang if we only focus on numbers and don’t look at developing a more sustainable model of tourism.”

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) says it is aware of the potential for problems and states that the country’s policy “dictates not moving beyond the carrying capacity of the environment” by focussing on the “extension of the summer tourism season and the development of thematic tourism which attracts visitors all year round”. But there is already evidence that breaking point is being reached in at least one location: Santorini.

Its spectacular sunsets and seascapes lure vast numbers of holidaymakers – a whopping 5.5 million overnight stays were recorded last year. But the island is just 76km² – smaller than the Isle of Sheppey – and traffic jams and overcrowding have become an issue, as has rising water and energy consumption.

Nikos Zorzos, the island’s mayor, who put a daily cap on cruise passengers in a bid to stem the tide of tourists, has warned that the island is at “saturation point”.

“Santorini has developed the problems of a city,” he told The Guardian last year. “We have built numerous desalination plants and are in the process of erecting the biggest one in Greece, but in five years’ time I worry even that won’t be enough.”

Jane Foster, Telegraph Travel’s Greece expert, agreed that Santorini is the most overwhelmed Greek destination, but added that Rhodes Town and Lindos “were still madly busy when I was there last year in late September, so I imagine they were unbearable in July and August”.

Athens is another obvious potential pinch point. Like Santorini it is a popular stop for cruise lines, with more than one million passengers using its nearest port, Piraeus, each year. It has also appeared on numerous recent “must visit” lists, and seen a spate of hip new hotels opening their doors.

Emirates last year introduced flights from North America to Athens, and the Greek capital is increasingly appearing on the radar of Chinese travellers – a direct service from Beijing also started recently. The Greek authorities are seeking to make the visa process easier for Chinese nationals and to further boost connectivity between the two countries. Last year a cruise ship catering to Chinese passengers made its inaugural Aegean cruise – starting in Piraeus.

While it is reasonable that Greece should wish to tap into the valuable Chinese market – and equally understandable that Chinese travellers should wish to explore Greece – a rapid increase in visitors could put huge pressure on the country’s infrastructure. The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute predicts that overseas trips by the country’s residents will increase from last year’s figure of 145m to more than 400m by 2030.

Jane Foster added: “In Athens, in the studenty Exarhia neighbourhood where I used to live, rent prices for small apartments have increased as many owners now choose to rent by the day (through Airbnb) to tourists rather than by the month to students. That’s a massive problem for locals”.

Go out of season – or find an unsung alternative. The GNTO claims that “this increase in numbers isn’t accumulating on the summer months” and that it has seen a “significant raise in the shoulder season – by 27 per cent in the spring months and 33 per cent in the autumn months”. Convincing people to visit in spring, autumn and winter is key to keeping Greece unspoiled.

So too is persuading travellers to look beyond the obvious “bucket list” islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Crete. Fortunately, the country has hundreds to choose from. Below are a few of our favourite lesser-known Greek gems.

Rachel Howard suggests a trip to the Aegean island of Skyros. “Although Skiathos and Skopelos had a brief moment in the spotlight when ‘Mamma Mia’ was released in 2008, the rest of the pine-fringed Sporades islands have stayed under the radar,” she explains. “Refreshingly resort-free, Skyros is an island of woodcarvers, shepherds, and a unique breed of miniature horses. British poet Rupert Brooke is buried in an olive grove on Mount Kohilas, a stirring setting for windswept hikes. There’s only one proper town, tumbling down the hillside below the Byzantine monastery of St George. During carnival (February/March), locals dress up as goats and dance through the cobbled streets – an unforgettable Dionysian spectacle.”

John Malathronas, guidebook writer and Greece expert, recommends this volcanic island in the Cyclades.

“Universally publicised as the site where the Venus de Milo was discovered, but otherwise unfamiliar, the strange volcanic island of Milos is touted as the next Santorini-in-the-making,” he says. “Its 70-odd beaches range from the eggshell-white moonscape of Sarakiniko (pictured) to the kaleidoscopic palette of the Paleochori cliffs, where geothermal energy is so high that tavernas offer stews cooked overnight in clay pots buried in the sand.

“The eastern half of the island is also dotted by thermal springs whose healing powers are recommended by none other than Hippocrates, while the western half is a protected nature reserve with sheltered sandy coves, such as Kleftiko, only accessible via excursion boats. To top it all, a network of early Christian catacombs, an eye-opener of a mining museum and the architectural singularities of the Holy Trinity church at Adamas should satisfy the most ardent history buffs on their off-beach day.”

“Hidden away between the larger Cycladic islands of Naxos and Amorgos, Koufonissia (plural) is made up of two tiny islets, Ano Koufonissi (Upper Koufonissi) and Kato Koufonissi (Lower Koufonissi), which are separated by a 200-metre sea channel,” says Jane Foster. “While Kato Koufonissi remains uninhabited, Ano Koufonissi, with its whitewashed Cycladic cottages, has a buzzing little community of 366. Locals live mainly from fishing – it is claimed that there are more boats than residents – there are no real roads and hardly any cars, so everyone either walks or cycles.

“Before 1980, there was no electricity either, and it is only over the last decade that Koufonissi has become a popular escape with Athenians in search of an unpretentious and inexpensive summer holiday. It’s much loved by yachters too, who moor up their sailing boats along the seafront, to unwind after visiting the noisier and glitzier islands of Santorini and Mykonos.”

Rachel Howard writes: “Only an hour by high-speed ferry from Santorini, Folegandros has the same magnificent drama without the crowds, glitz and inflated prices. Anemomilos (studios from €150, including breakfast), a cluster of minimalist rooms teetering on a cliff edge, is run with panache by the delightful Patelis family. Fishing boats and donkey paths lead to a string of crystal coves. Evenings are spent figuring out which is your favourite taverna in the four squares of the brilliant white Chora, as you sample matsata (rabbit or rooster tagliatelle) and rakomelo (grappa with honey). Hike off the hangover with a dawn stroll to the hill-top Panagia church, a zigzagging 20-minute ascent from Anemomilos, to watch the sun surface from the Aegean.” (Telegraph)


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Brisbane airport now accepts Bitcoin payment for World travelers

Monitoring Desk

BRISBANE: Bitcoin can now be used to purchase items at this Airport. The initial announcement came out in January when the Brisbane airport authorities announced plans to initiate the procedure of using cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange at all outlets within the airport premises.

The airport’s administration has quoted “the reduction of customer inconvenience due to the requirement of carrying multiple currencies and credit cards” as one of the major reasons behind this move. Amidst a period of Bitcoin’s downfall, this step is likely to push the cryptocurrency’s value up again. Last year, Bitcoin peaked out at more than $20,000 per coin, whereas as of now the value sits at roughly $7600.

The payment system has been developed by a Brisbane-based fintech startup, TravelbyBit. TravelbyBit reportedly received more than $85000 from a commercialization assistance fund, which helped them develop a system where customers can pay using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency and merchants can choose which cryptocurrency or real currency they want to receive the money in.

Speaking to a local media outlet, the General Manager of Strategic Planning and Development of the airport said that this step has been taken keeping the number of crypto investors worldwide. Furthermore, he added that he’s proud of Brisbane airport for being the first global airport that has worked with a local startup to bring such a service to the table.

TravelbyBit is also reported to be working on a “tourist map route” that lists all businesses that are currently accepting Bitcoin as a medium of exchange along the way to famous tourist spots in the country.

Currently, there are 30 outlets in Brisbane airport that are using the new system. Speaking to the media, the CEO of TravelbyBit commented that they will launch their service throughout the country gradually, wherein the only thing holding them back is the lack of trained staff of retailers.

He further added that their initiative can prove to be quite vital in establishing Bitcoin as a method of payment instead of “an asset”, which was a major reason behind Stripe withdrawing support for Bitcoin last year.


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Etihad Airways will start service to Barcelona from November this year

Monitoring Desk

BARCELONA: Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has announced it will start service to Barcelona beginning this November, becoming the airline’s second destination in Spain following service to Madrid.

Etihad will begin operating the route five times a week with its Airbus A330 aircraft before moving to daily service in March of 2019. The new route comes as trade continues to grow between Spain and the U.A.E., with the airline expected to increase service right as the Mobile World Congress is scheduled to begin in Barcelona this upcoming February.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “We are now delighted to announce the first direct link between these two important global hubs. We are confident it will prove very popular with UAE and Barcelona-based customers, allowing us to extend our acclaimed inflight service, hospitality and flair to this vibrant Mediterranean city, and to build on the flourishing cultural and commercial ties between the UAE and Spain.”

Etihad’s two top competitors, Emirates and Qatar Airways, both already offer competing service to Barcelona, with Emirates even offering twice-daily service. Qatar meanwhile offers between one and two flights daily, depending on the day of the week.

All three carriers have faced an uphill battle toward profitability, with Etihad losing an estimated $1.87 billion in the 2016 fiscal year. The challenges have mainly been brought on by Etihad’s failed equity investment plan in several airlines, including Air Berlin and Alitalia. With the exit of previous CEO, James Hogan, in the second half of 2017, the airline has been shifting its strategy to continue growing traffic through its hub in Abu Dhabi while cutting investments that were not contributing to the bottom line.

With an estimated population of 1.6 million people, Barcelona has become an increasingly popular destination for domestic and international travelers alike thanks to its architecture, beaches and options for entertainment. Last year, the city was ranked first in the world for the number of association meetings held, barely edging out both Paris and Vienna.

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England fans could face ‘anti British sentiments’ in Russia

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: England fans heading to Russia for the World Cup have been warned to be alert to “anti-British sentiment” and advised that Russians can be more “emotional” than anticipated.

In an advice booklet issued by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), fans travelling east have been told to “trust their instincts” to avoid being a victim of crime, but follow the security and political situation closely while abroad.

The FSF, which has some 500,000 members across England and Wales, cited both the targeting of England supporters in Marseille by Russian hooligans during Euro 2016 and the heightened geopolitical tensions as reasons to be vigilant while supporting the national team.

 “While the British embassy in Moscow is not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia… [fans should] remain vigilant to the possibility of anti-English or ant-British sentiment,” the FSF said, adding that “many perceive Russians as either reserved or unexcitable – they are in many cases actually more emotional than ‘Westerners’”.

Turning to the concerns of LGBT fans, the FSF says that “although same-sex sexual activity has been decriminalised in Russia since 1993, it is strongly understood and advised that you do not publicly display your sexuality, but this is up to the individual”.

In 2017 Russia was ranked 48th out of 49 European countries for the protection provided from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The FSF also raised concerns that president Vladimir Putin has not reassured the LGBT community ahead of the World Cup as he did before the Winter Olympics in Sochi. It said it believes the reported “rounding up” and alleged detainment, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya, said to have begun in 2016, targeting more than 200 people, is “not only ongoing, but has extended to other areas of the North Caucasus”.

“The areas of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, and other Muslim regions within the North Caucasus should be avoided,” the advice said.

The Foreign Office (FCO) has issued guidance advising that “public attitudes towards LGBT+ people are less tolerant than in the UK”.

Racism is another area both the Foreign Office and Football Supporters’ Federation have drawn attention to.

The FCO has advised fans to report any racist chanting during matches to the nearest steward, adding Fifa and the Russian Football Union “have been clear that racist abuse will not be tolerated during the tournament”.

The FSF said: “The majority of visitors experience no issues, although unfortunately racially motivated attacks do occur.

“People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent may sadly attract unwanted attention when in public, particularly late at night. As always it is advisable to stay in groups and not travel or explore areas alone.”

The booklet also touches on other areas of safety, including advice to fly internally only on “major airlines”, to be careful of crossing the road as Russian motorists do not always obey red lights and guidance to any victim of sexual assault to first contact a doctor, before the British embassy.

The number of England fans attending the tournament in Russia, which starts in a fortnight, is thought to be smaller than in past years, with the 28,000 tickets purchased paling in comparison to the 94,000 bought for Brazil 2012.

However, MPs, including Boris Johnson, have expressed concern over the safety of the travelling support. Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Commons foreign affairs select committee, described Kaliningrad, where England play Belgium at the end of June, as a “hotbed of Russian nationalism”.