In the wake of the U.S. State Department travel alert, released October 3, warning of the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe, the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is advising Americans to continue with their travel plans and arrangements.
“We acknowledge the State Department alert, and our members will do all in their power to treat the alert with the diligence it deserves,” John Stachnik, USTOA Chairman said. “USTOA member companies currently have thousands of travelers in Europe. The safety of our passengers and clients is a key concern for each of our companies, and the USTOA community has always taken steps to maximize traveler protection while at any destination, be it international or domestic.”
Stachnik notes that passengers on escorted tours are always in contact with the company through their tour manager. “Tour managers are knowledgeable and well versed on local conditions,” adds Stachnik. “And since many USTOA companies also have local offices throughout Europe there is instant communication with their tour managers and guests. And if you are on an independent vacation package or a custom itinerary planned through a USTOA member, there is generally a company contact in case of emergency. The company also has a record of your itinerary, so they are able to reach you as well.”
Stachnik observed that typically, following issuance of a State Department or other government alert such as the current one, USTOA member companies initially see a flurry of calls and questions from concerned consumers who may have an upcoming trip.
“That reaction is followed by an acceptance of current realities and the continued desire to travel,” he notes. “Americans have increasingly accepted the realities of our current world. The vast majority of travel experiences abroad are positive, enlightening and enriching. We are saying, ‘be aware of your surroundings, exercise common sense, and go out and enjoy the world.’ Before travelers make any emotional decision about their upcoming travel plans they should carefully consider the financial and emotional ramifications of a hasty change in plans.”
USTOA numbers 46 Active Member companies, and some 150 brand names.
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Margie Jordan wrote:
Not at all. Clients are not delaying their travel plans. They are staying more alert but the general comments I've gotten are that they refuse to live in fear. Certainly understand the risks but travel plans will continue as scheduled.