Expert insights

Is terrorism having an impact on European business travel?

6 June 2016

New data shows travellers are more afraid of robbery than terrorism – while Paris and Brussels are open for business.

Business travellers are more likely to worry about being robbed or mugged than being involved in a terror attack, according to a study from Business Traveller and American Express Global Business Travel.

Family and friends of business travellers feel more concern, with 77% of respondents believing loved ones worry about their safety more than they do. Only 16% were more concerned about themselves.

But 67% of those questioned admitted there is a psychological effect on them or their families when travelling to a region that may not be safe. And 31% worry that showing a reluctance to travel for business may hurt their career. Only 10% said they were “utterly fearless” about the threat of terrorism.

The findings were released as Eurostar reported a 3% drop in passenger numbers in the first quarter of 2016 – a likely impact of the deadly terror attacks in Brussels in March, which killed 32 and left tens of people injured, and Paris in November 2015, which claimed 130 victims.

Eurostar sales revenues were also down 6% year-on-year, as travellers remain 'cautious', according to the cross-channel operator.

“The impact has been particularly evident in international markets with Eurostar reporting a slowdown in travellers from the US and Asia,” said a Eurostar spokesperson.

Paris and Brussels: business as usual?

Brussels and Paris are striving to attract more business and tourism in the wake of terror attacks.

The French capital’s hoteliers have join forces with tourism bosses and the Paris convention bureau to create a new ‘congress charter’ for not-for-profit companies, aiming to make the city more attractive than ever for international conferences.

The city’s hoteliers have agreed on predictable price policies, fixed terms and conditions of sale and room release, allotment management policy and commitments to quality under the charter, which has been signed by groups representing 651 hotels and more than 75,000 rooms, and is applicable to congresses of more than 1,000 participants organised by not-for-profit organisations.

Brussels is also keen to show it is a safe travel destination after bookings across its city venues fell by up to 40% following terrorist attacks on the airport and subway in March 2016.

Hospitality industry representatives recently invited UK companies, including Capita Travel and Events, on a tour around the city to show that Brussels is open for business as usual, taking in stylish venues The Hotel and Hotel Bloom.

“We wanted to show our clients that the city is open for business as usual and has some amazing restaurants and venues,” said Zarina Mahmood, account director of Hotel Republic.

Look out for our feature on managing travel risks in the forthcoming issue of Destination magazine – free to Capita Travel and Events customers. If you’d like to receive it, do get in touch.

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