Expressions of condolence and sympathy for the people of Paris and France have poured in from the travel industry, as well as many others around the world.
Australia’s travel industry backed its sentiments with practical measures as Paris, the City of Light, showed its determination not to give in to the forces of darkness. The French capital has reopened many of the celebrated cultural and tourist sites that closed after the wave of bombing and shooting attacks killed about 130 people.
The Eiffel Tower reopened, lit up in France’s national colours of red, white and blue. Its website this morning bears the ticker “La tour Eiffel est ouverte au public.” (The Eiffel Tower is open to the public.) Cheers and applause broke out after tourists began to enter the building.
Great museums such as the Louvre and other historical buildings reopened after a minute of silence throughout France.
“In tragic moments that pass over France, culture is more than ever the symbolic place of discovery for oneself and others,” France’s Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said.
On the local Australian front there are practical measures as well.
French Travel Connection, the France travel specialist, pointed out that its team has many friends and family in Paris.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the people in this wonderful city,” French Travel Connection said.
“We would like to express our gratitude for the kind messages of support received from the travel industry following the Paris attacks.
“In response to this tragedy, on Saturday we contacted all of our travel agent partners who have clients in Paris. Today we are contacting all agents with clients scheduled to arrive between now and 31 December 2015 with an update as follows:
FTC Cancellation Policy:
The below applies for bookings in Paris:
- For all bookings up to 31st December 2015 French Travel Connection will not apply any cancellation charges.
- All cancellations are subject to our suppliers terms and conditions. We are working with them to understand what cancellation policies may apply.
- Due to the circumstances in Paris, we anticipate it will take time for us to understand the situation so we ask for your patience during this process.
- For all bookings up to 31st December 2015 French Travel Connection will not apply amendment fees to alternative arrangements in France.
- Please refer to http://smartraveller.gov.au/countries/france. Excluding Paris the advice levels for France overall is “exercise normal safety precautions”.
Tour wholesalers with trips to France are monitoring the situation, updating their clients and going ahead. Airlines are offering alternatives to people scheduled to fly to France this week. Generally, passengers affected are able to change their dates, reroute or cancel their flights without additional charge.
Qantas advised: “Options are available to Qantas customers affected by the extenuating circumstances in France and who hold a valid ticket issued on/before 14 November 2015 who are travelling to and from France on/after 14 November 2015 and on/before 20 November 2015.”
The Travel Corporation (TTC) issued the following statement:
“The Travel Corporation (TTC) is deeply saddened by the recent events in Paris and expresses its sincere condolences to everyone affected as a consequence of this most heinous act. Our hearts and thoughts are with the people of France as we join them in mourning their losses and sending well wishes to those injured in the atrocities. The entire TTC team extends its support and solidarity for France at this exceptionally difficult time.”
Meanwhile, on behalf of the international tourism community, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) issued the following statement from its secretary-general, Taleb Rifai:
“On behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and expresses its full solidarity with the people and the Government of France. We are facing a global threat and this is not an attack on France, it is an attack against us all.”
Written by Peter Needham