|Photo by Freeimages.com/Céline Mackowiak|
As tourist sites in Paris continue to reopen following Friday's series of terrorist attacks, which killed 129 people and injured about 350 others, travel advisors are weighing in on how the situation could affect travel to the city.
Michelle Weller of Travel Leaders in Houston, Texas, says that none of her clients have cancelled travel plans to Paris following the attacks.
"I have a flight scheduled for November 30 for a conference and I am going no matter what," Weller says. "I think I share the sentiments of most people I talk to in that we refuse to let these terrorists scare us into disrupting and living our normal lives … I think a few people will change or delay travel until things appear more stable, but the vast majority are not deterred."
Wally Jones, a Travel Leaders advisor in Phoenix, Arizona, says that any effect will be short-term.
"Paris is a highly desired destination and I also feel the traveling public will want to show its support to their citizens by traveling there," Jones says.
Sandy Anderson of Travel Leaders in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, agrees.
"There may be a short term effect on travel to France, as we had two cancellations this morning for Paris travel in the next month," Anderson says. "Long term, no. I don’t believe there will be an effect, as we learned after 9-11."
At the same time, Arivd Olson of Travel Leaders in Palm Coast, Florida, says that his agency has had some calls about changing travel plans in Europe next year to trips in the U.S.
"We are getting more requests for Alaska and Hawaii," Olson says. "Clients seem to feel that homeland travel is safer than Europe."
Other clients, Olson says, are taking a "wait and see attitude."
"This started before the Paris threats, however," Olson says. "The Syrian refugee crisis started impacting us more than a month ago."
Immediately following the attacks, Virtuoso tweeted the following:
We remain steadfast in our commitment to preserving your freedom to travel. You are our utmost priority. pic.twitter.com/SRnRUOzvwG— Virtuoso, Ltd. (@Virtuoso) November 14, 2015
Advisors we spoke with are also working to assist clients in Paris and keep them aware of the latest security updates.
"We have State Department notifications that our Duty of Care software automatically issues to clients for any and all locations with heightened security measures," says Weller. "It has been a good time to go over the Duty Care Program we have in place and discuss the importance of business and personal traveler insurance."
Jones says, "At the moment, we don’t have any clients with France on their upcoming itineraries. If we did, we’d advise our clients to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) with the State Department."
In terms of air travel, Olson is advising clients to allow extra time for heightened security at airports. Anderson is using ClientBase queries to identify customers eligible for airline waivers and assisting if necessary.
Travel Impact on The City of Light
Tourism is a vital market in Paris and, although not all advisors are seeing an immediate impact, Fortune is reporting that yesterday, French President François Hollande brought up the possibility that a state of emergency in France may continue for up to three months. The state of emergency would possibly bring with it heightened security, which could cause travel delays to the city. In turn, Paris Tourism is reporting that Paris hotels received 22.4 million arrivals in 2014, which was slightly down from 2013. This number may continue to drop due to these recent events.
The Business Travel Coalition has released a survey of 84 corporate, university and government travel, sourcing and risk managers from 17 countries on how they plan to respond to the attacks. Many travel professionals indicated that most potential policy changes are still under consideration, based on the ongoing investigation. Here are the key findings:
*20 percent of survey participants are very or somewhat likely to cancel travel to France for some period of time.
*20 percent are somewhat likely to cancel travel to to/within Europe for some period of time.
*70 percent are very or somewhat likely to allow employees discretion with regard to travel to France
*55 percent are very or somewhat likely to allow employees discretion with regard to travel to/within Europe.
*16 percent are very or somewhat likely to cancel travel to France until the investigation determines if the attack is just one of many in the planning stages
*5 percent are very or somewhat likely to cancel travel to/within Europe until the investigation determines if the attack is just one of many more in the planning stages.
*30 percent are very or somewhat likely to cancel travel to France if the attack is just one of many more in the planning stages until strategic modifications to travel policy are considered.
*35 percent are very or somewhat likely to cancel travel to/within Europe if the attack is just one of many more in the planning stages until strategic modifications to travel policy are considered.
*55 percent indicate their company’s Duty-of-Care policy will drive any modification to travel policy.
Additionally, the vast majority of organizations are likely to provide their employees personal discretion regarding travel to France and to and within Europe – 70 percent and 55 percent respectively.
Paris Travel Update
As of Tuesday morning more tourist attractions in Paris are starting to reopen. The Eiffel Tower, which will be lit up in blue, white and red for the next three nights, is closed on Tuesday, according to the Eiffel Tower website and the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Here's a full list of major attractions:
|Arc de Triomphe||Closed|
|Catacombes de Paris||Open|
|Centre Pompidou||Closed on Tuesday|
|Château de Fontainebleau||Closed on Tuesday|
|Château de Versailles||Open|
|Château de Vincennes||Open|
|Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie||Open|
|Crypte de Notre-Dame de Paris||Closed|
|Fondation Louis Vuitton||Closed on Tuesday|
|Institut du monde arabe||Open|
|Maison de Balzac||Open|
|Maison de Victor Hugo||Open|
|Musée d'art moderne||Open|
|Cité de l'architecture et du Patrimoine||Closed on Tuesday|
|Musée Guimet||Closed on Tuesday|
|Musée Gustave Moreau||Closed on Tuesday|
|Musée Jean Moulin||Open|
|Musée du judaïsme||Open|
|Musée du Louvre||Closed on Tuesday|
|Musée du Luxembourg||Open|
|Musée de la Marine||Closed on Tuesday|
|Musée du Moyen-Age (Cluny)||Closed on Tuesday|
|Muséum d'histoire naturelle||Closed on Tuesday|
|Musée Picasso||Open from 11:30 am|
|Musée du quai Branly||Open|
|Musée de la vie romantique||Open|
|Orangerie||Closed on Tuesday|
The Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Haussmann, Bon marché and Beaugrenelle department stores, among others, will open at their usual times. Some public parks, theme parks and gardens, however, remain closed:
- Big wheel - Place de la Concorde: Open
- Champs Elysées Christmas village: Open
- Disneyland Paris: Closed up to and including Tuesday
- Zoo de Vincennes: Closed up to and including Tuesday
- Aquarium de Paris: Closed up to and including Tuesday
SNCF high-speed rail lines and international trains, as well as all Paris metro lines, are running normally, the Paris CVB said. Only the Oberkampf metro station (lines 5 and 9) is closed to the public as a security measure. The Paris CVB advises that travelers allow for longer delays at airports and the Gare du Nord (Eurostar) due to police checks.
The information points of the Paris Tourist Office are open at the usual times, with the exception of the Paris Rendez-vous information point at the City Hall, which will reopen on Thursday, November 19.
A statement on the website of the city's two major airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, reminds travelers to expect further delays due to heightened security.
How are your clients reacting to the terrorist attacks in Paris? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.