Nearly 30% of agents say leisure clients have changed Paris trips

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Armed guards patrolling outside of the Musee D'Orsay this week.
Armed guards patrolling outside of the Musee D'Orsay this week. Photo Credit: Michelle Baran

Nearly 30% of respondents to a Travel Weekly online survey said their leisure clients have canceled or postponed planned trips to Paris as a result of the terror attacks last Friday.

Paris isn't the only destination that has been affected. Thirty-four percent of respondents said clients have canceled or postponed a trip to a destination other than Paris, and half said clients who are in the planning stages of a trip have expressed concern about travel to destinations other than Paris.

Europe as a whole is bearing the brunt of the unease. Among those who had heard concern from clients who were planning travel to a destination other than Paris, 70% of those travelers had been planning a Europe trip; and among those who have canceled or postponed trips outside of Paris because of the attacks, 77% of those involved trips in Europe.

Destinations outside of Europe appear to be perceived as relatively safe; 12.7% said their clients expressed concern about travel to/within the U.S., and 11% said their clients were concerned about travel to Africa.

If a client is already booked, however, the concern seems to be less pronounced. More than 60% said they had not heard concern from clients who were already booked to destinations outside of Paris.

The online survey of about 250 travel agent readers of Travel Weekly and TravelAge West was conducted Nov. 17 and 18. Agents were asked to respond to the survey, which dealt specifically with leisure clients.

Agents were also invited to leave a comment about how the attacks were affecting their clients and business, and the variety of responses showed the tumult of the past few days, as both agents and clients tried to get a handle on the situation and what it might mean for travel.

"Clients are fearful of all of Europe as of now," one wrote. "Clients have expressed concern regarding the refugee situation in Europe and the potential impact on their trips in places like Italy, Greece and Germany," said another. Some said clients were avoiding traveling to or through Charles De Gaulle Airport.

Other respondents said clients were resilient. "Not only have we not had any cancellations of upcoming and future bookings, but the comments received are that [clients] feel they will be safer due to heightened awareness and security," another agent said. 

"Clients are concerned, but they do not plan to stop traveling. If they do, then the terrorists win," one respondent wrote. "Will they be on guard? Yes, and probably will not go out much at night."

"I have clients that put down a deposit two days after the attacks," another said. "They are not deterred in any way from traveling to Paris!"

CORRECTION: An earlier summary of this report on the home page incorrectly stated that 77% of respondents had cancellations for travel "elsewhere in Europe." In fact, among respondents whose clients have canceled trips to a destination other than Paris, 77% of those cancellations involved travel in Europe.

This report was updated Nov. 19 to clarify the headline and a respondent's comment.

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