Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-biggest airline, and Channel Tunnel train operator Eurostar Group Ltd. said a U.S. travel alert about a possible terrorist threat in the region probably won’t affect bookings.
The U.S. State Department’s alert may discourage leisure travelers more than the business passengers who are Lufthansa’s main focus, said Boris Ogursky, a spokesman for the carrier in Frankfurt, declining to say whether additional security measures will be put in place. At the same time, reservations for end-of- year Christmas trips are unlikely to be affected, he said.
The alert, issued yesterday, isn’t as serious as a “Travel Warning,” which would have advised Americans to stay clear of Europe. The continent is the favorite foreign destination for U.S. travelers, with 12 million visitors last year spending more than $20 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Eurostar, which runs high-speed trains linking London with Paris and Brussels, also doesn’t expect a drop in customers, as most of them are based in Europe and previous alerts didn’t discourage travel, Richard Holligan, a spokesman in the U.K. capital, said by phone.
Cedric Leurquin, a spokesman at Air France-KLM Group, declined to comment on possible effects of the alert or on security measures. The Paris-based company is Europe’s biggest airline by traffic.
Deutsche Bahn AG, Germany’s state-owned railway, is “in constant touch with the relevant ministries and agencies, and the current assessment is that there is no threat from terrorists,” said a spokesman for the Berlin-based company who declined to be identified, citing company policy.
The German train operator’s security network features 6,500 video cameras and a security staff of 3,500, he said. Deutsche Bahn is also educating customers to report bags left unattended on trains and platforms, he said.
Rail systems, subways and tourist attractions are prime targets for terrorist attacks, and travelers should “take every precaution” to stay safe, according to the State Department alert. French police have evacuated the Eiffel Tower in Paris twice in the past three weeks because of threats.
Tourists travelling to the U.K. from the U.S. would more likely be deterred by a higher rate of airport tax, set to be introduced from November, rather than the warnings said Ian Dulson, marketing and communications manager at UKinbound, a trade body that represents Britain’s tourism industry.
“Americans are wary when they get these warnings but, unless something actually happens, I don’t think it will stop them coming,” Dulson said in an interview.
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