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Terrorism Threats and Tourism Concerns

Aug 18, 2007
The recent failed car bomb attacks that targetted London and Glasgow in the opening days of July have generated concerned travel inquiries to travel agencies, booking services and travel authorities from thousands of vacationers set to depart to various destinations as summer kicks off the biggest travel trend in recent years.

The discovery of two car bombs set to detonate in London's bustling theater and nightclub district Friday, June 29th, has encouraged residents to remain alert as they wait for additional incidents and information.

Following that scare, a jeep rammed into a Scottish airport in Glasgow on June 30th, prompting Britain to raise the threat level to "Critical" -- the highest alert status -- which means that more attacks may be expected. A handful of men have been implicated in the car bombing plots, and officials are taking nothing for granted as they continue to investigate.

Despite the fact that British authorities have not specified whether al-Qaeda is involved in these latest incidents, that knowledge has done little to soothe the nerves of potential travelers. Vacationers this summer are increasingly concerned for their safety as they make arrangements to fly, cruise or drive to Mediterranean and Spanish destinations such as Monaco and Menorca, as well as Malta, Andorra and destinations beyond.

One major travel and property website, Tribune Properties, based in the UK, typically receives an average of 120,000 travel inquiries a month as the warm weather and travel season begin. Because of the attempted bombing incidents, the number of visitors at that website making inquiries has dropped approximately 15 percent. The same goes for a number of other travel websites, which have been deluged with travelers' questions and concerns.

Such a drop in ticket purchases, along with canceled reservations due to the car bombings, is common after terrorist incidents. However, despite the flush of initial fear that such incidents incur, most travelers and residents of stricken areas return to normal routines and expectations within a short period -- usually about two weeks.

The attempted car bombings have kept British officials and investigators on their toes, comparing notes and information with the U.S. counter terrorism, intelligence and information agencies as well as authorities in Scotland. The best advice: Stay aware and notice what is going on around you.

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has not raised threat levels, though security and surveillance have increased, as they have throughout England, Scotland and much of Europe. British authorities maintained that the recent British incidents "Certainly appeared to be al-Qaeda-inspired" and that residents and travelers should be reminded that ongoing attacks might be expected.

At least some of the perpetrators of the attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow are currently under arrest in Britain. While British and foreign travelers can expect longer delays in flights and bag check-ins for destinations to Monaco, Malta, Menorca, or other southern and eastern destinations, most travelers are remaining calm and unruffled with the delays.

Living with terrorism in the 21st century is a given these days, and while many travelers may appear more cautious, most are continuing with their travel plans.
About the Author
Tribune Properties produce a series of travel guides for European destinations.

The areas covered include the Mediterranean island of Malta, the glamour of Monaco and lesser known fellow tax haven Andorra , which is often better known for her ski resorts, at YourAndorra.com
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