How the Specter of Terrorism is Changing European Travel
Graphic courtesy of Thinkstock
Edward Garafolo had been daydreaming about a trip to Italy this coming fall to finally fulfill his dream of seeing Roma, his favorite soccer team, play in Stadio Olimpico. It’s an especially important time to visit because it’s the last season that Italy’s soccer phenom, and Garafolo’s favorite player, Francesco Totti will play. Unfortunately, Garafolo is considering taking the trip a few years from now instead.
“I don’t want to go to Europe right now because of the attacks in France,” he said. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen there and it’s scary.”
He’s not alone. There are many travelers who share his fears and are considering postponing their trips to Europe because of the terrorist attacks. “Weather, political unrest, refugee influx, etc., can all play a role in why travel plans may have to be adjusted,” said Greg Antonelle of MickeyTravels, LLC, who said that it wasn't that long ago that Disney Cruise Line adjusted their itinerary to avoid Greece when there was trouble, and they continue to monitor all of their ports of call.
“We have an agent heading to the Mediterranean on DCL next month with a stop in Nice,” said Antonelle. “She has no real concerns, as Disney is known to put the safety of its guests first. I am confident that security and safety is a priority for DCL and their travelers would not be put in harm’s way. While the attacks on France are unfortunate and our hearts are with the victims of the tragedy, it can sadly happen anywhere.”
Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours said that the impact on France and Europe is undeniable and meaningful, although he remains positively encouraged by the resilience of the American traveler.
“There is a noticeable shift in travel and booking activity towards Asia and Africa, although I would be remiss not to point out that Europe has not fallen completely out of favor,” said Geronemus. “We are still sending a lot of people to France and Europe as a whole, just not in the way we would in a "normal" year.
Antonelle believes that those who want to travel to Europe will continue to do so the same as international travelers who want to visit the United States. “Disney may enhance security procedures for travel, but people can't stop traveling and enjoying life, that would be giving the terrorists exactly what they want,” he said.
Perhaps American travelers need to understand what their risks really are. According to CNN, the chance of being killed by terrorism is less than dying in a car accident (1 in 19,000); drowning in a bathtub (1 in 800,000); dying in a building fire (1 in 99,000); or being struck by lightning (1 in 5,500,000). In the last five years, you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.
After the latest attacks on Nice where 84 innocent civilians were slain, it will be a matter of time to see what kind of affect this has really had on travel plans. Whether more travelers put their fears aside and travel to Europe in support or, like Garafolo, decide to put their plans on hold, there’s no doubt that the attacks have had an impact on how travelers travel.
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