Friday’s tragic shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 2, in which four cruise ship passengers were among the five killed, kicks off what could prove to be an unsettled year for the travel industry.
In our just-released 2017 Survival Guide we pointed to ongoing fears of terrorism as one of the key challenges for travel agents to overcome this year. (As of press time federal authorities told USA Today that, while they believe the Fort Lauderdale shooter acted alone, they have not ruled out terrorism as a motive.) In the Guide, experts we spoke with advised to pitch destinations affected by terrorism first to seasoned travelers, who may see an opportunity in visiting such a destination.
The Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau has stationed FHP Mobile Units or Florida Licensing Units on Wheels (FLOW) between the lower levels of airports Terminal 1 and 2, as well as at Port Everglades, to assist passengers with help in obtaining drivers licenses. Additionally, Broward County has established a toll-free number for passengers to locate their luggage and belongings at 866-435-9355, the CVB said. For items that were left on planes, passengers should contact their airline directly. Passengers will be asked to provide the following information to expedite the process:
- Name, address, and contact phone number
- Terminal number and general location of the area in the terminal where your bags were left
- Airline name
- Description of luggage and its contents
A family assistance center for those trying to contact loved ones is located at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel, 1617 SE 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale. For information, please call 954-626-1700.
Finally, passengers who have have been delayed or displaced due to flight cancellations can access the Florida Emergency hotel availability list here. As with any single incident, the ongoing impact of the Fort Lauderdale shooting will take some time to become clear. The 2017 Travel Trends Survey from Travel Leaders Group, released in mid-December, pointed to strong fundamentals for the industry going into 2017: 94.5 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents said their clients will spend the same or more on travel this year, and 82.9 percent predicted bookings would be higher or about even in 2017 compared to 2016. It remains to be seen how this will continue in the coming year.
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