Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Avoid Turkey, Government continues to warn travellers

Citizens stand on a damaged armoured personnel carrier attacked by protesters near the Turkish military headquarters in Ankara. Photo / AP
Citizens stand on a damaged armoured personnel carrier attacked by protesters near the Turkish military headquarters in Ankara. Photo / AP

Kiwis are cancelling or changing plans to travel to Turkey as the Government continues to warn people to avoid unnecessary trips there.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said travel to Turkey remained high risk and New Zealanders are being told to avoid tourist and non-essential travel after the unsuccessful military coup.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, has confirmed 265 people were killed and 1400 others wounded as a result of the attempted military coup on Friday night and Saturday aimed at overthrowing his Government.

Ataturk international airport and Sabiha Gokcen international airport in Istanbul and Esenboga airport in Ankara have reopened.

House of Travel marketing director Ken Freer said the travel agency had a significant number of customers in Turkey or intending to travel there in the coming days and staff had been working with them to change their flights.

About 80 customers were in the country during the week of the attempted coup.

"One couple in particular was of concern to us, as they were due to fly out of Istanbul in the hours following the commencement of the coup. We were thankfully able to hold them in their hotel while we switched flights and airports."

House of Travel was also working with cruise lines and tour companies to ensure customers remained safe and was also talking to those travelling to Turkey in the next few weeks about whether they wanted to alter their plans.

Helloworld chief executive Simon Mckearney said only about six of its customers had to cancel or change their travel plans.

"Turkey has been off the radar for a little bit so it wasn't a big impact."

But with the events in both Turkey and the terrorist attack in Nice last week, people were looking at destinations closer to home.

Bookings for Asia had doubled in the past year and North America was also becoming more popular with Kiwis. The biggest booking period for Europe was between August and October and the events in the past week could badly affect this, he said.

Meanwhile, New Zealanders in Turkey, including the 241 who have registered with the ministry, are being warned to stay inside and away from military installations, areas of police or military activity and large gatherings.

A spokesperson said the ministry was monitoring the situation but had no immediate concerns for New Zealanders in Turkey.

- NZ Herald

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