Travel long haul: Something To Declare

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The Independent Culture
True or false? Europe has just acquired a new airport

True: if you check the new December edition of the OAG Pocket Flight Guide. What must be the most Europhilic airport of all has arrived at the point where the Rhine, France and Switzerland converge. Called EuroAirport, it is actually located in French territory, but arriving passengers can opt to disembark in either France or Switzerland.

False: if you recognise this as a precise description of Basel-Mulhouse airport, which has been around since the war. In the name of Euro-friendliness, or at least to give a marketing edge, BSL has been supplanted as an airport code by EAP. Everything else remains the same, including the fact that Basel - sorry, EuroAirport - is an excellent gateway to Switzerland - not least because, being in French territory, you pay only pounds 10 for air passenger tax rather than the pounds 20 for Zurich.

Trouble spots

In its new glossy "factfiler", South Africa's tourist board (0181-944 8080) says the country is "basically a safe place". Nevertheless, it adds, "the normal safety precautions should be exercised in South Africa as with anywhere in the world... Do not draw attention to yourself by flaunting large amounts of cash or jewellery. A camera around your neck identifies you as a tourist - carry it in a shoulder bag or hold-all.

"Avoid dark, unlit places. When returning to your hotel late in the evening, use the main entrance.

"Be observant and look around before entering car parks. Park in well- lit areas and never pick up strangers. Ensure car doors are kept locked at all times.

"Plan your route in advance, use maps and, when in doubt as to the safety of specific areas or which route to take, contact the police.

"Do not needlessly display guest room-keys in public or carelessly leave them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool or other places where they can easily be stolen."

Meanwhile, the US State Department warns visitors to South Africa that "criminal activity, such as assault and armed robbery, is particularly high in areas surrounding many hotels and public transportation centers". It continues: "Crimes such as car-jacking, mugging, smash and grab attacks on vehicles and other incidents are regularly reported by visitors. Crimes against property, such as car-jacking, have also often been accompanied by violent acts, including murder."