Three Australians, including a Topdeck Travel client, were injured last week in a terrorist attack on Nice, capital of the French Riviera.
The carnage there has left French authorities wondering what more they can do to improve security.
A large truck was deliberately driven into a crowd of families and visitors celebrating Bastille Day, leaving 84 people dead and many badly injured, including children.
The three Australians, who included a woman taking a Topdeck tour, suffered minor injuries while fleeing the mayhem, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed at the weekend.
The injured Topdeck customer is expected to recover fully.
Topdeck global general manager Sarah Clark said the company was “extremely saddened at the tragic event which has unfolded in Nice this morning and our thoughts are with those who have been affected”.
All Topdeck customers were safe and accounted for, Clark said. “Unfortunately one of our customers has reported some minor injuries. They are with Topdeck staff and are currently being tended to in hospital.
“Our family liaison team has been in direct contact with the injured customer’s family and we are ensuring the best care possible.”
The Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organisation was reported to have claimed responsibility for the truck attack, which was carried out by a Tunisian-born migrant.
France has entered a period of national mourning and has extended its current state of emergency.
The Nice jazz festival, an international tourist attraction which was planning this weekend to feature acts such as Massive Attack, has been cancelled. The singer Rihanna called off her concert there too, the Guardian reported.
The attack was indiscriminate but the target is one of the top tourist spots in Europe. Nice is capital of the Côte d’Azur, often known in English as the French Riviera, and it’s an all-year-round holiday destination. The region has recently earned itself a new and unwelcome reputation “as a breeding ground for jihadis,” the Guardian warned at the weekend.
Disaffected youths, the children of migrants from Islamic countries like Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, are being drawn to extreme forms of Islam.
The Nice Convention and Visitors Bureau issued the following statement:
The members of the board and all the staff of the Nice Convention and Visitors Bureau extend their deepest sympathy to the victims and their families after the dreadful tragedy which struck the city on this 14th July, and assure all those present in Nice, locals, residents or tourists of their total support.
The NCVB team, and in particular the staff in our information offices are at the disposal of all those, in particular non French-speaking visitors, who need assistance or information to support them and put them in touch with the appropriate services.
This barbaric act has touched us all and left us stunned. Incomprehension, grief and unity are the feelings shared by all the people in Nice.
The board of the Nice Convention and Visitors Bureau expresses its gratitude for all the spontaneous actions of solidarity carried out by different members of the tourism industry: hotel, restaurant and beach staff, taxi drivers but also all the Niçois people who provided assistance to victims of this unspeakable act.
The time is now for respect and three days of national mourning.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued the following update:
Investigations into the terrorist attack in Nice on 14 July are ongoing. If you are in France, monitor the media, follow advice of local authorities and let friends and family in Australia know you’re safe. For those in Australia with concerns for someone in Nice, try to contact them directly. If needed, our Consular Emergency Centre can be contacted on 1300 555 135 (see Safety and Security). If required, you can also contact the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ crisis centre on +33 (0) 14 317 5646. The overall level of advice for France has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in France.
Written by Peter Needham