Paris terror attacks

MOE cancels two 'immersion trips' to France for students

Tourists taking photographs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov 15.
Tourists taking photographs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov 15.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has cancelled two "immersion trips" to France after last Friday's terrorist attacks.

A spokesman for MOE said: "(We) have been informed by the school in France that they have been advised by their authorities to put all student exchange programmes on hold for the time being.

"In organising overseas learning journeys, safety and security are of paramount importance."

The two trips, which were supposed to take place this month, involved about 30 students from various schools.

Meanwhile, none of the 70 Singapore Management University (SMU) students currently in universities in France has requested to withdraw from his or her international exchange programme. All of them have been accounted for and are confirmed safe.

"SMU is in contact with all our partner universities in Paris and will take their advice, as well as that of the Singapore Consulate in France," said an SMU spokesman. "We will continue to stay in regular contact with our students."

Travel agencies that The Straits Times spoke to said they have not received any cancellations for trips to Europe or France, but are keeping an eye on the situation.

They also advised their customers to buy travel insurance and to register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in case of any emergency.

Dynasty Travel said that from about 300 customers who are going to Paris during the school holidays, it has received just 10 calls and there have been no cancellations. A spokesman added: "We are monitoring the situation and will adjust the tour programmes if the need arises."

ASA Travel and Chan Brothers Travel also said they have had no cancellations. A spokesman for the latter added that it is also keeping in touch with its European counterpart for information.

A Hong Thai Travel Services spokesman said it will contact tourists departing for Paris this week to ask if they want to opt for another city instead.

A CTC Travel spokesman said tour groups heading to Central Europe this month and next will avoid Paris. "Based on the current situation, we have made some revisions and rerouted our itineraries. Safety is paramount."

Aquarium diver Bay Lirene, who will spend two days in Paris next week as part of a 19-day trip to Europe, is not too worried.

"(The) situation should be stable after the incident, as officials are more vigilant now," said the 28- year-old. "I will still visit the highlight attractions in Paris, but definitely not stay out too late at night."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2015, with the headline 'MOE cancels two 'immersion trips' to France for students'. Print Edition | Subscribe