US Embassy in France Urges Travelers To Be 'Vigilant'
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While operations return to normal in Paris, travel and tourism within the city will likely take a hit. Still, many experts are going public with the assertion that travelers should not cancel European vacations. Guidebook author and television host Rick Steves said in a blog post: “It remains my firmly held belief that the best way for Americans to fight terrorism is to keep on traveling.”
Paris is one of the world’s leading tourism destinations and welcomes millions of visitors each year. However, in light of the attacks and despite the encouragement of travel experts, many people are asking themselves if they should go ahead with their travel plans.
The U.S. Embassy in France advised travelers to remain vigilant in a statement posted on its website: "We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities."
And, while the city may be safe for civilian travelers, the U.S. Department of Defense has restricted non-essential travel to Paris for members of the military. According to a statement from U.S. European Command “United States European Command has implemented travel restrictions to France that apply to all Department of Defense personnel. Specifically, unofficial travel (leave, liberty and special pass) to France is prohibited. This prohibition is for unofficial travel to Paris, France, and includes a 50-kilometer radius around the city.”
The statement said that the restriction is a precautionary measure to keep personnel and families safe but also an effort to help minimize tourist traffic at the borders in France.
Tourism to Paris already took a hit earlier in the year when satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by gunmen, leading to the deaths of 12 people.
For those visiting the city, expect to see a large military and police presence in the capital. Many attractions have reopened, but some remain closed such as Disneyland Paris, which plans to reopen Wednesday, Nov. 18. Tourist information points within the city have all reopened and travel within the city by bus or metro has resumed as normal. There are enhanced police and security checks at airports and train stations, but flights and scheduled train service are fully operational.
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