Europe’s Travel Falls ‘Off a Cliff’ as Terrorism Fears Up Stakes for Tourism

The list of places around the world which have seen impact on their travel and tourism industry is on the rise as is the places that touched by terrorism, violence, rising crime rates and health alerts.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, while supporting more than 284 million jobs worldwide, the travel and tourism industry contributed an estimated $7.2 trillion to the world’s economic output in 2015.

These numbers were boosted with the rise of 8 percent in the number of Americans who traveled abroad in 2015 compared the year earlier and touched 73.4 million. However this year, terror risks are being taken into account increasingly when making vacation plans by the U.S. travelers.

Travel warnings for voyagers to Turkey and Europe have been issued by the U.S. State Department in the last few weeks. Inquiring about pricing and broader options for future coverage and calling in by travelers checking on the details of already-purchased policies is on the rise, report some travel insurance companies, with geopolitical risks on the rise.

According to the annual Vacation Confidence Index released by Allianz Global Assistance, cancellation, delay, relocation, change or reconsidering travel plans before taking a vacation is being done by almost a quarter of Americans, irrespective of whether they are insured or not.

According to recent data, in the wake of attacks, tourism has suffered in Europe. And an estimated 270 million euros ($299 million) have bene lost since late 2015 by France’s tourism sector alone.

“Americans are putting safety before money and may travel to more expensive destinations to insure their security,” said Daniel Durazo, spokesman for Allianz Global Assistance USA.

“Our data shows that American summer travel to Brussels and Istanbul has fallen off a cliff,” said Durazo, while “other locations, which Americans deem safer, like Dublin and Shannon in Ireland, have seen tremendous increases in American visitors,” Durazo adds.

On the flip side of all this, as airlines and various sectors of the industry try and halt the dip in bookings, some travelers may be able to cash in on the heightened travel concerns.

“We normally expect airfares from the U.S. to Europe and the U.K. to peak in late May and early June and slowly decline into fall,” said Patrick Surrey, chief data scientist at Hopper.

“This year, prices have dropped precipitously from May into June, and there’s been significant ‘flash sale’ activity as airlines tried to shore up demand in the face of ongoing uncertainty and apprehension about travel to Europe,” Surry added.

With prices to Western Europe down 36 percent to $627, from their highs in May round-trip airfares from the U.S. to the U.K. are down about 35 percent, to $667, reports Hopper. Flight prices from the U.S. to Europe and the U.K. are down 31 percent overall when compared to the same period last year.

Insuring their trip, which is an added cost, is being attached more importance by would-be vacationers, according to experts, due to worldwide terror jitters.

“These uncertain times heighten the need for adding ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage to a travel insurance plan,” InsureMyTrip noted in a release after Turkey’s failed coup.

“This coverage will typically cost the traveler an added premium, but provides a level of comfort that a trip can be canceled whether or not a terrorist event or political unrest is listed as a covered reason on the plan,” the company added.

(Adapted from CNCB)

Categories: Economy & Finance

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