Last updated: 04:31 PM ET, Fri September 30 2016

Travel Agents Offer Calm, Advice In the Wake of NYC Terror Attack

Travel Agent | Lisa Iannucci | September 19, 2016

Travel Agents Offer Calm, Advice In the Wake of NYC Terror Attack

 Photo courtesy Thinkstock

Eric Hrubant’s offices are located only one mile away from where an explosion injured 29 people in a New York City neighborhood just a few days ago. As close as he works to such a traumatic event, Hrubant isn’t worried about how it’s going to affect his travel business and whether or not people are still going to visit the Big Apple.

“I feel that New York City is the safest city in the US, and this incident will just make our city safer and stronger,” says Hrubant, who is the president of CIRE Travel, a division of Tzell. “I have dozens of clients coming to New York every day, and I don’t expect any cancellations or a changes in travel patterns.”

Greg Antonelle, managing director of MickeyTravels, LLC, has clients already booked for New York City vacations and he is confident that the recent attacks aren’t going to change anyone’s itineraries.

“From the conversations I’ve had the last 24 hours, I’ve heard absolutely nothing that makes me believe any of our clients will alter their plans to visit New York City,” he says. “When booking a vacation to New York City, most people understand that there are inherent risks involved with visiting. In essence, there are inherent risks that people take when visiting any city in any country.”

This positive attitude seems to come out across the board from travel agents who live and work in the United States, but an agent with Hotel Peru Online, anonymously says that while it’s too early to talk about how it will affect business, their agents are already promoting other tourist sites outside of the United States.

“This makes us suppose that the people outside the USA prefer that everything returns to normal on security issues before they go traveling to New York,” says Sun. “We are a web of travel agencies of Peru and it affects us that sales are down for September. Security within the safest country in the world has been compromised. Unfortunately, if actions are not taken to counter this situation, not only New York, but all of the USA will be affected by low international visitors and therefore in its long-term economy.”

Only time will tell, which viewpoint is correct, but it is notable just how many US-based travel agents think "normal" isn't that far away. 

Jill Petrowsky, Travel Advisor with Cruise Planners, is located in Connecticut and went into New York City to see a show only two blocks away from the attacks. “Fear is definitely not a word I would use to describe the atmosphere,” she says. “I spoke to residents and business owners and yes, it was scary, but New York City is resilient. Hotels were full and restaurants were packed. New York City is thriving and always will.” 

Hrubant says that when events such as these happen, he reports back to their accounts and lets them know if their travelers are affected and if action is needed. He also reminds all travelers, “As always, be aware of your surroundings when you travel and work with a travel provider that will be proactive if you need assistance.”

TravelBound is located directly across from Madison Square Garden, in the heart of New York City and only about a dozen blocks away from the attacks. James Phillips, president of TravelBound, says that it’s too early to tell if the recent attacks will affect the tour operating and travel agent businesses, but he’s optimistic about the future.

“Historically, New York City has been a top market for tourism and attracts travelers of various backgrounds from backpackers to families,” he says. “With 30,000 AirBnBs and close to 300 hotels, we predict that travel to New York City will remain high as it is a major hub for finance, business, and the arts.”

Phillips says that there has always been a heavy surveillance presence through cameras and police officers in the area. “The events are still a harrowing reminder of the threats that currently exist on a global scale,” he says. “Our role as a travel provider is also crucial and TravelBound has made some major adjustments to ensuring the safety of the travel agents’ customers and our staff. As a tour operating business, our first priority is to always account for the safety of travelers and communicate with travel agents as soon as possible. We are backed by a global team with major hubs in Dubai, Hong Kong, London and Bangkok who work around the clock to secure the whereabouts of travelers, and travel agents are reminded of the resources available to them even before a trip is booked.”

His bottom line: “In the face of such adversity, we must show solidarity by supporting the travel business. Boundaries divide, but travel unites.”

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