Agent Issues Agents report wariness about Barcelona, but not high anxiety By Jamie Biesiada / November 01, 2017 Share 1 Photo Credit: Shutterstock -- While agents are largely reporting clients are not canceling trips to Spain following Catalonia's vote to secede from the country, some customers are inquiring about the situation, and some agents predicted tourism will take a hit. Travel data analytics company ForwardKeys says tourism already is down, saying last week that international air reservations for Catalonia had fallen 22% since the beginning of October.Michelle Weller, vice president of sales at a Travel Leaders agency in Houston, said no one has canceled or "raised a big, red flag." The agency has a group of 25 headed to Barcelona this month, but they don't plan to cancel or change their itinerary.Weller said she feels it's safe to travel to Catalonia, and while she will inform clients about the political situation, she wouldn't recommend they avoid traveling there."Safety is our top priority and it's our job to make sure that the travelers are informed, so we'll discuss it with them and make sure they have travel insurance," she said.Haisley Smith, vice president of marketing and development at Birmingham, Ala.-based Brownell Travel, said clients have not changed their plans."We had a couple of phone calls from travelers saying, 'Are you watching the news? Is this going to be OK? Are we going to be safe?' We can't make anybody feel safe or unsafe, that's not our role as advisors," she said. "Our role is to present the facts as we know them. But we've not seen any really discernable shift in anybody's attitudes toward Spain."Allison Collier, an Andavo Travel affiliate in Birmingham, Ala., believes travel to Catalonia and Barcelona will be affected, especially among very cautious travelers."It's all relative to the client and their comfort level with the unknown," she said. It comes down to, "What is your tolerance level?"Instead of risking trip interruptions in Catalonia, Collier predicted some travelers would avoid the region or pick another country altogether.Andavo affiliate Diane Bean, owner of Off On Vacation in Bangor, Maine, agreed."They hear about it and they see it on TV," she said, which leads clients to believe the situation is bad and they should avoid traveling to Spain.Craig Mungary, owner of Elite Global Journeys in Fresno, Calif., said his agency typically suggests Spain but that doing so now is a risky move. Suggesting a country in political turmoil risks a client backing off from traveling, he said."To take the path of least resistance, so to speak, I think you're going to see a drop-off in the suggestion," he said.But if a client asked to travel to Spain, Mungary said he would not hesitate to book the trip."For those who are interested, I still think that it's a safe destination," he said.