Abu Dhabi: Travel agencies in the UAE have said that they are not expecting major cancellations to people’s travel plans to London, with the British capital remaining a popular destination choice for holidaymakers, despite the recent terrorist attack that left seven dead and dozens wounded.
“We haven’t had any travel cancellations to London as of yet, so it is really business as usual,” said Mary Thomas, director at Bin Musa Travels.
“It is unfortunate but nowadays people are getting used to the distressing events that we saw in London, and they are just getting on with their lives and travel plans. We are continuing to get bookings from people who want to go to London for their summer holidays,” she added.
Biju Nair, head of travel at Lulu International, said that some bookings had been put on hold in the wake of the London attack but, overall, there was not much disruption in travel arrangements.
“There have been some bookings made but without the tickets being issued yet, some customers are still thinking about confirming their travels to London after what happened.
“Some people will be afraid and will think an attack will happen again, so they are a bit panicky and may look to another travel destination for their summer holidays,” he added.
“Travel flow will always be there to London, this is peak season and there won’t be a big shortfall in travellers. We haven’t seen cancellations or changes from the people who have confirmed their bookings with us,” he said.
Bilal Ebrahim, director at Leading Hotels of the World, said that he has so far had one major cancellation to London, but that most of his clients were still going to holiday in the British capital.
“After what happened with the terrorist attack, I had one cancellation, it was a big cancellation because the client had booked one suite along with six rooms. So realistically there will be a small effect, but it will be a short phase, which is to be expected after such an incident.
“This cancellation has been the only case we have received so far. On the positive side, I am still having a lot of requests from clients who want to go to London after Ramadan, and we still have so many bookings in the system that have not been changed at all,” he added.
Ebrahim explained that London’s popular reputation as home away from home for many Emiratis was a key factor behind why it remained a popular choice.
“London is a comfort zone for many Emiratis and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens, it is a second home for them, and they feel very relaxed there and so despite heightened threats, they enjoy going there for their holidays.
“Many of the bookings we have are for long stays as well, Emiratis looking to go to London and stay for one month or more. We can’t forget as well that there was another terrorist attack in London that took place in March, and that didn’t have a significant impact on travellers from the UAE visiting London, and so I believe it will be the same for this more recent incident,” he added.
Alaa H., a travel agent at Omeir Travel Agency, echoed the same, saying that London was a prime destination for holidaymakers in the UAE.
“There are people who are still making bookings to London, we are receiving calls, and nobody has made cancellations or changes.
“We expect it to be the same this year in terms of the travellers going to London, there will be a steady flow of tourists, and after Ramadan ends, we don’t expect a decrease in the number of tourists who want to go to London,” he added.