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European tourism is hit hard after terror attacks in Brussels and Paris

Thomas Cook (Britain’s best-known tour operator) said in his analysis this is the biggest fall in our travel industry in last 17 years

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Tourists in Paris, Image credits : wsj.com
  • 320 dead- Terrorist attack at the Brussels’ airport 2016
  • 224 dead- Bombing of Russian Jetliner flying from Egypt in November 2015
  • 130 dead- Paris killings in November 2015

Spates of terror attacks and air crashes have started to show the effect on Europe’s travel industry. After terror incidents, tourism officials generally brace themselves for such sudden drops. In a matter of weeks, things come back to normal.  But this time, things are starting to look different.

Starting with Egypt-Air Flight 804 disappearance from the radar to the Paris attacks, bookings started to decline significantly. Carolyn McCall (chief executive of British budget airline) said: “We have seen more external factors affecting us than we have seen at any other time.”

Another statement came from Michael O’Leary (CEO of Ryanair Holdings PLC, Europe’s biggest budget carrier) that “the pace of bookings—an early sign of passenger sentiment—again started slowing after the Egypt-Air tragedy.” He didn’t provide figures, though. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State have mainly targeted Europe in their master plans. Several of them happened in the year 2015 and in the present year of 2016.

The major attacks have inculcated fear among tourists. Thomas Cook (Britain’s best-known tour operator) said in his analysis this is the biggest fall in our travel industry in last 17 years. Turkey is Cook’s second biggest market. There have been a series of attacks in Turkey which has greatly affected the market.

Statistics of terror attacks, Image credits : wsg.com
Statistics of terror attacks, Image credits : wsg.com

Ryanair and EasyJet (Europe’s biggest carriers) were forced to cut their prices after the ongoing attacks. Tour operators are not flying to Egyptian resorts that have lately become a ghost town. Over there bookings have declined by a third.

However, bookings in Spain have increased up to 27%, with Portugal up to 30% and Italy up to 12%. There has been a corresponding effect on prices in Europe. David Hope (GfK’s business group director) said: “Prices are going up and up and up.” But he says this is only healthy for tour operators if they can provide enough rooms to meet demand. Cook’s rival, Tui (owner of Thomson) has fared better because it focuses on Spain and relies less on Turkey.

Robin Byde (a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald) says: “Between EasyJet and Ryanair, they have more than 20% of European short-haul traffic. They are price-makers as well as price-takers, so you have to take it with a pinch of salt when they talk about pressures driving down prices.”  The biggest influence on air fares is that on fuels. Airline companies buy their fuel in 2-year advance, so they are getting the benefit of the falling oil price enabling them plenty of scopes to cut down fares.

McCall reiterates that travelling is an important part of everyday life. Demands will bounce back after these shocks. So from a consumer’s point of view this indeed a very good time to fly.

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-by Pritam

Pritam is pursuing engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen

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2,648 illegal Migrants detained in Turkey

According to an official statement by Turkish General Staff , Turkish border guards rounded up 1,632 migrants attempting to illegally enter Turkey from Syria

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Turkey launches nationwide operation to detain illegal migrants (representative image) Pixabay

Turkey, November 9, 2017: A total of 2,648 undocumented migrants were detained in nationwide operations across Turkey, security force said on Wednesday.

Turkish border guards rounded up 1,632 migrants attempting to illegally enter Turkey from Syria, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

Some 171 undocumented migrants were found attempting to cross Turkey-Greece border illegally, according to the statement.

Another 575 migrants trying to illegally enter Greece and Bulgaria were held in northwestern Edirne province, a security official told state-run Anadolu Agency.

Gendarmerie caught 126 migrants, including 104 Afghan and 22 Pakistani nationals, from a bus at a checkpoint in Turkey’s central province of Sivas.

During another operation in northern Kastamonu province, security forces stopped an Istanbul-bound bus and held 121 migrants, including Pakistanis, Afghans and Senegalese. (IANS)

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‘Delhi Metro Cruelly Killed my ‘Achhe Din” : Here is why Passengers are dumping the popular mode of travel

The author shares her take on shifting to Delhi from Kolkata and her experience with the Delhi Metro

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Delhi Metro. Wikimedia

– By Somrita Ghosh

New Delhi, November 5, 2017 : Delhi Metro cruelly killed my “acche din”.

Metro fares have been doubled in just four months, forcing me to give up my favorite mode of transport and take to crowded DTC buses.

Besides putting the new fares beyond my budget, I have also been stripped off the safety of travelling in the Metro. And I am not the only one.

My biggest shock came two days after the latest Metro fare hike. I commute daily between Green Park in south Delhi and Noida Sector 16 where I work.

As I punched my smart card while leaving the Sector 16 station, my heart skipped a beat — Rs 37 had been deducted from my card.

By the time I reached my office, the mental calculation was already done. I realized every month I would have to spend double of what I was shelling out only five months ago if I wanted to use the Delhi Metro.

When the year began, I was spending Rs 18 on my Metro ride — one way. The Metro then hiked the fares and my one-way cost shot up to Rs 27. The latest hike had taken it to Rs 37!

This was hard for me to digest. The sudden hike of almost Rs 20, that too one way, was surely going to painfully pinch my wallet.

When I landed in Delhi five years ago, my friends advised me to avail the Metro, not just because it is safe for women but comfortable too, never mind the crushing rush during peak hours.

Most important, as I realized very soon, the Metro was affordable. It was so cheap that while an auto-rickshaw would charge me a minimum of Rs 25 from my home to the nearest Metro station, the Metro charged me only Rs 18 all the way from south Delhi to Noida in Uttar Pradesh. This was too good to be true.

Since I came from Kolkata, where the minimum Metro fare was only Rs 4 and the maximum Rs 12, Delhi Metro initially seemed costly.

But I realized the full story in no time once I started using the Delhi Metro. The infrastructure, service and overall facilities provided by Delhi Metro were far better compared to Kolkata.

Delhi Metro offers free WiFi, its stations have coffee shops and the bigger ones even host fast food chains. Travel is hassle-free despite the odd technical snags that hit the Blue Line that I use.

But suddenly charging a salaried person like me Rs 40 more, or Rs 1,200 a month, just because the Metro needs to finance itself better is something I cannot appreciate.

Like numerous others, I have changed my mode of transport. It is now the DTC buses. The DTC’s frequency may not match the Metro’s and DTC rides can be bumpy too, not to talk of unending traffic jams. But do I have a choice?

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Somrita Ghosh of IANS. She can be contacted at somrita.g@ians.in)

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New York Attack Suspect Charged in US Federal Court; Trump Open to Sending him to Guantanamo Bay

Officials said in the court document that on Saipov’s cellphones they found about 90 IS videos with bomb-making instructions and showing beheading of prisoners and running them over with tanks.

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A Home Depot truck which struck down multiple people on a bike path, killing several and injuring numerous others is seen as New York City first responders are at the crime scene in lower Manhattan in New York, NY, Oct. 31, 2017.VOA

White House, November 2, 2017 : President Donald Trump has called the Uzbek immigrant arrested in Tuesday’s terror attack that killed eight persons an “enemy combatant”. However, prosecutors filed terrorism charges against him in a civilian federal court.

Acting federal prosecutor Joon Kim announced the filing of the charges in the civilian federal court  on Wednesday, hours after Trump said that he would be open to sending Sayfullo Saipov to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, where terrorists captured abroad are tried by military tribunals.

At the start of a cabinet meeting, in reply to a reporter’s question about the possibility of Saipov being sent to Guantanmo, Trump said: “Send him to Gitmo — I would certainly consider that, yes.”

Sending Saipov, 29, a legal immigrant with a green card, to Guantanamo for a military trial may raise legal questions while labelling him an “enemy combatant” may open the way for this.

Guantanamo, known as Gitmo for short, is a US military base in Cuba — in territory under American control.

Saipov mowed down pedestrians and bicyclists with a rented truck on Tuesday. The rampage ended when the truck hit a school bus.

After he emerged from it brandishing two fake guns, a police officer shot and arrested him.

Six of those killed were foreign tourists. Twelve people were injured.

The initial charges filed against Saipov are only about providing support to a terrorist organisation, the Islamic State (IS), and operating a motor vehicle in a manner that caused a death.

ALSO READ Manhattan attack proves all you need is a vehicle, a crowd and a will to kill to be a Terrorist ; Here is how Twitter reacted

These charges were meant to hold him in custody. More serious charges about the killing of eight people and other actions were expected later.

New York state does not have death penalty but because he is charged in a federal court and not a state court, Saipov can face capital punishment under federal laws.

The court papers said Saipov told officials in hospital that he felt “good” about what he had done and asked them to put an IS flag in his hospital room.

He told the officials that he was inspired by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and had planned the attack more than a year ago, choosing Halloween day because he thought he could do the maximum damage then.

About a week before the attack, he told the officers, he had made a trial run of the area near the 9/11 memorial and had planned to continue his attack on the Brooklyn Bridge. But he could not because of the collision with the school bus.

Officials said in the court document that on Saipov’s cellphones they found about 90 IS videos with bomb-making instructions and showing beheading of prisoners and running them over with tanks.

Earlier at a news conference, New York Police Counter-terrorism Deputy Commissioner John Miller said Saipov “appears to have followed almost to a ‘T’ the instructions that IS has put out” for carrying out vehicle attacks. (IANS)