Europe Tour operators starting to see bounceback in Europe bookings By Jamie Biesiada / January 12, 2016 Share 1 Terry Dale, CEO of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, moderated a panel on the state of the tour industry at the New York Times Travel Show. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada -- NEW YORK — During a panel at the New York Times Travel Show here last week, tour operators revealed that like much of the rest of the industry, they are cautiously optimistic about the rebound of travel to Paris after the November 2015 terrorist attacks there. “One of the challenges that we had in ’15, and I surely think this will be interesting to see how it plays out next year, is travel overseas. It wasn’t as great as we would have liked,” said Jeff Clarke, president of Travel Impressions. He cited factors like currency fluctuations earlier in the year and security issues closing out 2015. “It’s a bit of a concern for us, but we’re holding our breath relative to what we’re going to see in our European business.”Jennifer Tombaugh, president of Tauck, said 2015 was bookmarked by events that affected international travel: Ebola in the headlines early in the year, and the Paris attacks in November. She said Tauck saw European business down by “up to 25%” in the first six weeks of 2015. It started to rebound, “and then we had November.”However, Tombaugh said sales seem to be rebounding in Europe in 2016 thus far.“I can tell you, the first four days of the week, we had record bookings [in Europe],” said Harry Dalgaard, CEO and founder of Avanti Destinations. That includes bookings to Paris, he said. Dalgaard wasn’t surprised by the uptick in bookings to France.“I predicted late last year that one thing that we’ll see for France is Americans supporting France and traveling to France as sort of a protest move [against ISIS],” he said.Phil Cappelli, president of Insight Vacations, said his company had strong early bookings to Europe in the fall of 2015, but the attacks happened and “we dropped quite a bit.”“The first few days in January, I’ve got to tell you, the first few days were not great,” he said. However, the day prior had been a solid one for Insight with regard to European bookings, and Cappelli said, “I’m buoyed by yesterday.”The next few weeks will dictate what travel to Europe will look like in 2016, Clarke said. “The question now will be, will we continue at the pace we would like to see historically, plus the pickup for what we lost immediately afterward,” he said.