Recent terrorist attacks have claimed hundreds of lives. Twelve lives were taken in the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in 2015. One hundred and thirty people were killed in November in the most recent Paris attacks, and 14 lives were claimed in San Bernardino, California. These attacks have taken a toll on the travel industry.
The after effects of terrorist attacks not only affect airlines, but also many other aspects of the travel industry. Tourism is a large industry in Paris. Sixty thousand Parisians list their lodging on Airbnb offering tourists a place to stay. This money helps supplement their income, according to Time magazine. After the recent Paris attacks, many of these stays have been cancelled.
These recent terrorist attacks have also affected BYU students and faculty members traveling internationally.
Nancy Bean, a travel agent at BYU Travel in the Kennedy Center, recently cancelled travel plans to Europe.
Bean had planned to travel to Europe during November and part of December with her daughters. Days before they were scheduled to leave, Bean cancelled the trip.
“With the recent terrorist attacks, we were all nervous to go to Europe,” Bean said. “The Paris attack was the one that scared us the most. We kept hearing about the threats in Belgium after. We worried about our own safety because we were traveling close to Belgium.”
Bean and her daughters hope to travel to Europe next year.
“We want to be able to enjoy the trip and not have to worry about things like this,” Bean said.
Students who want to study abroad next spring and summer semester recently turned in their applications for the various programs. BYU offers four international programs: study abroad, international internships, direct enrollment and field school. Nellie Ashby, a Kennedy Center faculty member, wondered if enrollment would drop in some programs because of the recent terrorist attacks.
“When things like this happen, we always wonder if enrollment will drop in our international programs,” Ashby said. “We have plenty of programs that go to Europe, and some students might not feel safe traveling there.”
Todd Bird, a travel agent at BYU, is in charge of travel arrangements for some programs the Kennedy Center offers.
“I haven’t had many people cancel or drop out of their program because of these recent attacks,” Bird said. “I mostly have parents calling me asking to know if it is safe for their child to travel.”
Timothy Lynn Elliott, director of the Kennedy center, agrees. He noted from looking at recent enrollment statistics that there has not been a significant negative trend in upcoming enrollments for Paris or anywhere else in Europe.
Bird said he believes it is safe for students to travel, but there are some precautionary measures students and faculty can take to be sure they are traveling as safe as they can. One precautionary measure Bird suggested is to get to get to the airport at least two hours in advance if traveling internationally.
Students and faculty members can book travel arrangements through BYU travel. But BYU doesn’t book everywhere. BYU Travel has a restrictions list where they recommend travelers to be cautious of their own safety when traveling to certain places. BYU Travel is not allowed to book itineraries at all in certain areas. The list contains geographic areas of concern where there is a strong probability that travelers could face security problems.
“We have a travel restrictions list. This list is of places that we don’t think are safe for students to travel to. It is more for their safety than anything,” said Julie Anne Zarbock, a faculty at the BYU Kennedy Center.
Adam Rallison, a BYU student studying graphic design, went on a study abroad across Europe during the summer semester of 2013. Rallison said he would love to travel back to Europe.
“These attacks are kind of scary. I know I would probably would’ve felt a lot safer traveling to Europe this past summer than I would now,” Rallison said. “I don’t think at this point in time Europe wouldn’t be as positive and great of an experience as I had a couple of years ago. I know there is a lot of heightened security in Europe right now which is great to help keep people safe, but it also would put people on edge, I think.”
While some students may be nervous about traveling to Europe, others are not. Nelson Johansen, a BYU student studying construction management, participated in a study abroad program this past summer. Johansen said he doesn’t think these attacks would affect his love for travel.
“These attacks are sad, but it is the world we live in,” Johansen said. “I would love to go to Europe again, especially with a group from BYU. I really loved my directors, and the friends that I made. It is an experience I will never forget.”