JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

From Shanghai to Sydney, tourists think twice about Paris trip

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 22:17 GMT+7
From Shanghai to Sydney, tourists think twice about Paris trip
The Eiffel Tower is lit with the blue, white and red colours of the French flag in Paris, France, November 17, 2015, to pay tribute to the victims of a series of deadly attacks on Friday in the French capital.

REUTERS - Fresh violence on the streets of Paris and bomb threats against Air France flights have rattled the global tourism industry, with travellers from wealthy Asian nations thinking twice about trips to Europe.

Tour operators cancelled package trips and some predicted a further slowdown in bookings as jittery travellers hold off on immediate plans or look to go elsewhere.

Some big-spending Chinese tourists are shunning Paris for now and opting instead to visit Germany and other European cities in the wake of the second major attack this year on the French capital. Some Chinese visiting Paris last weekend swiftly diverted to Switzerland, said Jane Chen at travel firm Ctrip in Shanghai.

More than 2 million Chinese were expected to visit France, the world's leading tourist destination, this year, up from 1.7 million last year, according to Chinese state media citing the country's ambassador to France. For Japanese, France is the 12th most popular travel destination.

The likely blip in foreign arrivals will further pressure the French economy, particularly if tourist unease lasts through the Christmas season. Tourism generates more than 7 percent of annual GDP, with Paris alone drawing in 32.2 million visitors last year.

"I still want to go to Paris, but after this incident I won't go within a year,' said Vickie Zheng, a 27-year-old realtor in Shanghai.

"My impression of Paris is that it's a romantic city, but after this I think the security situation has been neglected and there are risks. If I was travelling this would influence me," added Li Maoqing, 29, a Shanghai salesman.

An employee at CITIC Tourism in Beijing said business related to France was expected to remain "sluggish". "Unlike earthquakes or natural disasters, a terrorist attack will leave people with fear for ... at least three months."

"Really concerned"

Among Asian airlines operating regular flights to the French capital, a spokesman for South Korea's Asiana Airlines said it stepped up security for Paris flights.

"Our passengers are really concerned about the attacks in Paris," added K.W. Nieh, a senior vice president at Taiwan's Eva Airways, noting a rush of cancellations following Friday's attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.

"On Sunday alone, we had 50 cancellations out of 300 bookings. Paris has always been a fully-loaded route for us, but loading has dropped to 70-80 percent since the attacks."

Several airlines, such as Air China and Singapore Airlines, waived cancellation fees for those booked on flights to Paris in the coming days or weeks.

Dennis Bunnik, Chairman of Council of Australian Tour Operators Inc, said clients are "definitely nervous," though this is currently low season for travelling to Europe.

"People have realised that terrorism can happen anywhere, so if your time's up, then unfortunately you'd get caught in it," he said. 

"What this sort of incident would do is delay people booking, but won't stop them from travelling."

AFP

More

Read more

Global spread of coronavirus raises pandemic fears

Italy sealed off the worst-affected towns and banned public gatherings in much of the north, including halting the carnival in Venice, where there were two cases, to try to contain the biggest outbreak in Europe

1 day ago
;

Photos

VIDEOS

Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Vietnamese-made app allows people to grow real veggies via smartphone

Nguyen Thi Duyen, a young engineer in Hanoi, developed the app and its related services to help busy people create their own veggie gardens.

Chinese tourists hit by Vietnamese over dine and dash

Four Chinese were reportedly injured, with one having a broken arm.

Latest news