Travel warning: The impact on tourism
Performing artists dressed up as U.S. Military Police officers pose for a photo for tourists at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe, warning of "the potential for terrorist attacks" and urging U.S. citizens to take precautions in public places and transportation systems.
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Japan has followed the U.S. and Britain and issued a European travel alert after warnings of possible terrorist attacks. The foreign ministry in Tokyo today, just like the U.S. State Department over the weekend, advised its citizens to be careful when using public transit or visiting tourist attractions there. Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the latest. Hi Stephen.
STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: How much do we know about this terrorist attack?
BEARD: Nothing very specific from official sources, but it's been reported here that the U.K., France and Germany are the most at risk. And that some British citizens of Pakistani origin and some Germans of Afghan descent may be planning a commando-style attack in crowded places, similar to those terrible attacks in Mumbai two years ago.
CHIOTAKIS: And how much impact, Stephen, will this have on European tourism?
BEARD: Well obviously it isn't going to help. Now this clearly is not a peak time for people to be traveling to Europe, especially from the U.S. But many Americans may be thinking about their vacation plans next year. And Simon Calder, travel editor for The Independent newspaper, feels many may be deterred by this alert from taking a trans-Atlantic holiday. And that, he says, would be terrible for European tourism.
SIMON CALDER: U.S. travelers are more adored than any other nationality because they spend more cash. It's going to be very grim news for thousands of workers and the tourist industry in Europe.
He says it's particularly galling for the tourist industry here since airlines and hotels have begun to report the signs of recovery from the economic downturn.
CHIOTAKIS: All right. Marketplace's Stephen Beard reporting from London. Stephen, thanks.
BEARD: OK Steve.