Honduras:Good news for travelers in Central America: Although a U.S. State Department travel warning remains in effect from June 2014, new reports indicate that crime levels have dropped dramatically across Honduras. Officials announced that the government has taken drastic measures to curb drug trafficking and other criminal activities, resulting in lower levels of crime nationwide. The port town of Trujillo opened a cruise ship terminal, the new Copan airport begins service in coming months, and several international chain hotels are being built in the capital of Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula — all signs pointing to safer travel.
Bermuda:The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness, has been detected on the island of Bermuda. The disease, previously found only in Africa and Asia, has spread to the West in recent years, infecting people throughout the Caribbean and Central America and now showing up farther north. Symptoms can include fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. There is no vaccine, but travelers can protect themselves with the use of insect repellent.
Belgium: The government raised the national threat level, warning of a probable attack after the Jan. 15 terror raids in Brussels and Verviers. Police killed two terror suspects in the raids, and given the recent terrorist incidents in France, tourists should remain aware of their surroundings and follow local news sources for travel alerts.
Turkey:Authorities reported an increase in bomb attacks and attempted attacks in Istanbul in recent weeks, including the Jan. 6 suicide bombing at a police station. A bomb exploded in central Istanbul Jan. 18, and other bombs have been found under a statue of founding President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Istanbul's Maltepe district, at a bus station in the suburb of Sultangazi, and elsewhere. Authorities suspect that Kurdish separatists, Islamist radicals and far-left groups are responsible for the attacks and urge tourists to use caution.
Nepal: A bridge linking Udayapur and Okhaldhunga districts over the Sunkoshi River will cut travel times to the Everest base camp for trekkers who prefer not to fly to Lukla. The 155-mile journey between Kathmandu and Solukhumbu headquarters in Phaplu now takes 10 hours compared with the previous travel time of three days. A new road project also is in the works that may offer easier access to the high country from Salleri.
Compiled from news services and travel sources. For updates, check with the State Department at 888-407-4747, travel.state.gov.