Singaporeans going ahead with trips to London

Singaporeans are still proceeding with their plans to visit London, said travel agencies.
Singaporeans are still proceeding with their plans to visit London, said travel agencies. PHOTO: AFP

Singaporeans heading to London are still going ahead with their plans despite the terrorist attack last Saturday that targeted tourist attractions in the English capital.

Travel agencies contacted by The Straits Times have not received any requests to postpone or cancel trips to London.

But the agencies said they are monitoring the situation and may amend itineraries to ensure their customers' safety if the need arises.

Last Saturday's attack unfolded when a van carrying knife-wielding men mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge. The three men then stabbed people near Borough Market, an iconic food market. Seven people were killed and nearly 50 injured.

Dynasty Travel, which has 30 customers in London, on Sunday took its tour group to the British Museum in place of London Bridge, which was closed in the aftermath of the attack.

While none of its customers has cancelled or postponed upcoming Europe trips, Dynasty Travel's director of marketing communications Alicia Seah expects bookings to the continent to be hit in the next two weeks. "However, in the longer term, we believe that the attack will not affect bookings for holidaymakers," she said.

MINDSET CHANGE

This is due to a shift in mentality... over the last decade, with the emergence of a 'carry on as normal' culture in response to terrorism.

MS ALICIA SEAH , Dynasty Travel's director of marketing communications, on hotel occupancy rates recovering faster in recent years in cities that have been hit by terror attacks.

In cities that suffer terrorist attacks, hotel occupancy rates are recovering faster in recent years than before, Ms Seah noted. "This is due to a shift in mentality among consumers and companies over the last decade, with the emergence of a 'carry on as normal' culture in response to terrorism," she said.

Chan Brothers Travel, which has over 100 customers slated to arrive in London today, said it is monitoring the situation closely. A spokes- man said: "We have not received any calls of concern from customers travelling to the United Kingdom, and demand remains at status quo."

A Singaporean who has been working in London for two years, Ms Karene Wai, 29, said she was horrified by the repeated attacks in the city and will be more alert when visiting crowded places.

Just an hour before last Saturday's attack, she was chatting to her friends about how some visiting friends were worried about safety, following the May 22 attack by a suicide bomber at a concert in Manchester that left 22 people dead.

Her friends had identified Borough Market as one of the "less risky" areas to visit, only for the market to be attacked that very night.

"Incidents can happen anywhere and anything can become a weapon. There is no way to be sure," said Ms Wai, who works in the finance industry.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2017, with the headline 'Singaporeans going ahead with trips to London'. Print Edition | Subscribe