If you were planning a trip to Paris for the holidays, would you not consider a change of heart after the ISIS attack on the City of Lights?
A great deal of would-be visitors would have second thoughts. This attitude, though justifiable, is making it worse for Paris. There are already reports that the economy, specifically tourism is taking a nosedive after a series of obviously coordinated attacks last 13 November 2015.
Tourism Impact: At First Glance
Adam Thomson of FT Paris reports that Paris suffers steep fall in tourists after attacks. Thomson narrates how a couple of tourists feel after the bloody incident. He writes:
On Thursday, the normally long queue outside the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysées had disappeared, leaving the velvet rope used to control the crowds redundant.
“It’s dead,” admitted one staff member. Since the attacks, the store has bolstered security. Customers are being patted down as well as having their bags checked.
Air France refused to comment on passenger numbers and cancellations bound for Paris. But on Tuesday, the low-cost airline easyJet said that demand for travel to Paris had fallen off.
Yet, authorities are optimistic that France’s economy won’t suffer a sustained decline. Natixis Asset Management economist Philippe Waechter says, past terroristic attacks in the first-class cities like London, New York and Madrid have failed to cause long-term fallout. Moody’s Analytics economist Anna Zabrodska thinks that because tourism only accounts for 7 percent of the gross domestic product, it is unlikely to impact the overall economy.
Winning Over Terrorism
John Gapper of FT Paris thinks that Economies are too tough for Isis to destroy. Gapper writes, “Terrorism has its own logic. It fosters fear far in excess of the danger that it presents and is a marketing campaign for recruits. It does what its planners want. But set against natural events such as earthquakes, and the ebb and flow of industry and trade, even large attacks are economically minor. It is hard to keep in mind when faced with atrocities but it is the reality. Many Parisians fell but Paris stands..”
It is akin to saying that terrorism wins if people would feel fear and abandon what to them is the natural flow and ebb of daily life. It is fine to be shaken, but don’t let fear carve your life or future. To win again over terrorism, people around the world must continue to live life, without fear.
If you want to visit Paris, Nick Trend of Telegraph Travel offers advice in this post Paris attacks: Is it safe to travel to Paris? Paris and the rest of the country have stepped up the security, but life is almost back to normal. Trend says:
“Despite the announcement that France was closing its borders following a series of terror attacks, flights, ferries and trains have been running as normal – but security has been stepped up. Tourist attractions in Paris eventually reopened after three days of mourning.”
Nick Trend posed some questions most interested visitors would likely ask:
- “Is it safe to travel?”
Stepping up the security would boost safety, but security checks may cause some delays on Eurostar and at the airports. There may also be cancellations of large group tours, such as school tours. If you are a part of these tours, contact your travel agent/company to seek confirmation.
While there may still be some threats from terrorism in France or Paris, it has the same threat rating as the 30 other nations around the world. This means it is no less than safe as the other destinations you probably have in mind. Since attacks would tend to be indiscriminate, you need to be extra vigilant and cautious.
- “Is there a curfew in Paris?”
The curfew is likely to affect your activities after sundown – dinner, bar crawling, watching night entertainments, etc.- so you want to know. While there is officially no curfew, visitors “… are advised to keep travel around the city to a minimum.” Note that the attack in the Bataclan Theater, where the casualty was highest, happened that fateful Friday night of November 13.
- Are trains to France running?
Eurostar continues to operate, “… but there were reports … that many seats were empty.” Eurotunnel is also running as scheduled. Normal booking has resumed.
- Are flights affected?
“Flights are arriving and departing as normal and the airport has said it expects business as usual. Trains are running to Gatwick Airport as normal and shuttles and coaches between terminals are in operation. Heathrow Airport is also operating normally.”
- Can I rearrange my flight free of charge?
Flybe has extended rebooking for two days while BMI gave its passengers 14 days. For more details, it is best to contact the customer service of your airline. Call Flybe on 0371 700 2000 (from outside the UK +44 1392 683 152). Contact BMI Customer Services Department on 0330 333 7998 or visit bmiregional.com.
- Can I cancel my trip or return early?
You can, but know that there can be some fees that you may incur. Travel companies will only offer repatriation or free cancellation if there is an Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against travel. Calling up your airline or hotel for postponing or changing of dates is recommended.
- Will my travel insurance cover any losses if I don’t travel?
“Not usually. Travel insurance normally excludes costs associated with terrorist action.” To be sure, call your insurer.
Note that local transport, events and attractions are generally back to normal operations. It will also be smart to keep your travel documents at all times, especially when venturing out of the hotel. Make sure that you don’t have anything incriminating in your bag to be able to breeze through the security checks.