Tuesday February 19, 2019
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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

  • Shivang Goel

    every evil comes with its own mirror,you cant run from it shadow; well written article infact.
    continuous attacks in certain region effects tourism upto a great extent Brussels will have face this trauma for many more years to come;it would have been a single attack things could have gone back to normal;but it hardly seems so; infact its a chance for portugal,spain even Italy to fetch as many travelers in this period

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, terrorism does affect the tourism of any place. People get extra cautious about events like these and this creates bad impressions. Terrorism should be immediately looked after

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    This was expected .. The government would have to ensure that the tourists are safe and this will take some time.

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  • Shivang Goel

    every evil comes with its own mirror,you cant run from it shadow; well written article infact.
    continuous attacks in certain region effects tourism upto a great extent Brussels will have face this trauma for many more years to come;it would have been a single attack things could have gone back to normal;but it hardly seems so; infact its a chance for portugal,spain even Italy to fetch as many travelers in this period

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, terrorism does affect the tourism of any place. People get extra cautious about events like these and this creates bad impressions. Terrorism should be immediately looked after

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    This was expected .. The government would have to ensure that the tourists are safe and this will take some time.

Next Story

Iran Doubts Europe’s Efforts To Keep Nuclear Deal Alive

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence’s hard-hitting speech at Munich has triggered fears in Europe that Washington has bigger plans, says Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

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Iran
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 17, 2019. VOA

Iran says Europe’s efforts to keep the 2015 nuclear deal are failing and there is growing support among the Iranian people to restart the country’s atomic program.

“We appreciate that Europe has done a great deal politically. But it hasn’t been prepared to make an investment. It hasn’t been prepared to pay a price,” Zarif told delegates at the Munich Security Conference Sunday.

He accused the United States and Israel of seeking war with his country.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence earlier accused Europe of helping to prop up a ‘murderous’ regime in Tehran.

atomic energy
Not at all a call for ‘let’s renegotiate the deal’ but rather ‘let’s remove the regime in Tehran.’ And in that sense I think this was not interpreted as anything that Europe could accept. Pixabay

“They have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions. They call this scheme a Special Purpose Vehicle, we call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime,” Pence told delegates Saturday.

That Special Purpose Vehicle — officially known as INSTEX — is a payments system designed to allow European companies to trade with Iran and bypass U.S. sanctions, explains sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner of London-based firm “W Legal.”

“The aim is that it will get around the U.S. secondary sanctions by not involving U.S. dollars, not involving U.S. persons, and certainly at the moment only being involved in the procurement of trade which does not include products or services that are sanctioned by the U.S. authorities,” he said.

Europe is hoping that Iran will show patience, adds Kushner.

“I think on the Iranian side, they will play a waiting game and very much hope that next year Donald Trump might not be re-elected,” he said.

But Tehran says Europe’s offer is not good enough.

“INSTEX falls short of the commitments by the E3 [European three] to save the deal. Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism,” Foreign Minister Zarif said Sunday at the Munich conference.

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence’s hard-hitting speech at Munich has triggered fears in Europe that Washington has bigger plans, says Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

Also Read: Thrill of 27th Annual Pan African Festival

“Not at all a call for ‘let’s renegotiate the deal’ but rather ‘let’s remove the regime in Tehran.’ And in that sense I think this was not interpreted as anything that Europe could accept,” she said.

Washington, which withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year, has not explicitly called for regime change in Iran. (VOA)