Cancellations for trips to London are on the rise following the recent series of terrorist attacks in the UK, travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance reports.
In the week following the most recent terrorist attack on the London Bridge, Allianz had reported receiving 70 claims from U.S. travelers who want to cancel their London trip. In its most recent statement provided to Travel Agent, that number has risen to over 100.
Last week three men crashed a van into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge before jumping out and slashing people with knives, killing seven and injuring a dozen more. In late May, a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester became the deadliest terror attack on British soil since the 2005 London bombings when it killed 22.
Before the Manchester bombing, Allianz had released a study forecasting a rise in summer travel to London and Paris despite an earlier string of terrorist attacks. In that report, which was based on online airfare and package bookings for partners offering Allianz travel insurance for itineraries arriving in Europe May 29 through September 7, travel to London was forecast to rise 36.55 percent year over year, while travel to Paris was forecast to rise 28.77 percent.
What can travel agents do? At the inaugural Secure Tourism Summit in April sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association, Travel Agent got some quick tips for how go about talking to the public when disaster strikes. At the event Ari Fleischer, who was the White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush during 9/11, laid out a five-step plan for crisis communications, called “THRDD” (pronounced “thread”): Tell the truth; do your homework; think like a reporter; define your message; and maintain your message discipline. While the talk focused on how to handle messaging to the media, the same tips can also apply when fielding questions from concerned clients.
For clients who are concerned about booking travel insurance to protect them in the event a terrorist attack makes them want to cancel their trip, Travel Agent recently spoke with Jason Schreier, CEO of travel insurance provider April USA, for a breakdown on how travel insurance policies handle terrorism. Key points to watch for: the official declaration of terrorism; how close the terrorist event is to the date of travel; and the distance from the incident.
In its latest statement Allianz also said it provides coverage for trip cancellation and trip interruption when there is a terrorist incident at the customer’s destination within 30 days of their arrival.
Europe is currently under a travel alert from the U.S. State Department warning American citizens that terrorist continue to target tourist attractions, transit hubs, markets and shopping areas, and other “soft targets.” The alert is set to continue through the summer travel season, expiring September 1.