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Terrorists cause panic but little loss of trade

29 July 2005
Terrorists cause panic but little loss of trade

London hotel operators are remaining upbeat in the face of more attempted terrorist attacks last week.

The bungled attempt to repeat the attacks of 7/7 on London's transport system resulted in no loss of life, but caused widespread panic and disruption in the capital.

However, most hotel operators reported negligible impacts following the attempted bombings on 21 July. Hilton said the second attack "barely registered" on business.

There were far fewer cancellations this time at the Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill. Mike Gray, the hotel's general manager, noted increased nervousness from international customers, particularly those from Japan, but added that the weekend bombings of the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh showed that any major city was in the firing line.

The Bench, which provides daily hotel operating data in London, said results from 80 of 94 three- to five-star London properties supported the reports that there had been little impact on business.

Occupancy dipped by just 2.5 percentage points on 22 July, by 3.7 on 23 July, and by 2.7on the following day.

Bench chief executive James Chappell remained "cautiously optimistic". He said that average room rates were up year-on-year putting revenue per available room "slightly in the positive" since the incident on Thursday.

But many consultants were less confident that the aftermath would remain limited. PKF, for instance, has warned that "the effects of the bombings could echo through the next few months".

The Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group has estimated that the 7 July bombings could cut visitor spending by 2% (or £300m) this year, with London bearing half the losses.

It suggested the latest attack would probably compund this.

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