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US bookings hold up despite warning of terrorist threat

07 October 2010 by

Bookings in London's five-star hotels are holding up well, despite the USA warning its citizens of a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in Europe.

While not country specific, the alert, which will stay in place for three months, follows reports from intelligence sources on the potential for terrorists to attack "public transportation and other tourist infrastructure".

The foreign office followed the US lead by warning British citizens in France and Germany that the terror threat was now "high" rather than "general".

Chairman of the West One General Managers' Association and general manager of Brown's hotel, Stuart Johnson, said that business at member hotels, where about 30 to 40% of bookings come from North America, is steadfast. "We have seen no quick reaction to the warning," he said. "While North American travellers were once very fickle, they are now far more resilient about travelling to Europe, in spite of these threats."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for VisitBritain said that Britain is operating as normal and welcoming visitors.

"Theatres, restaurants, hotels, attractions and shops are open and airports, ports and airlines are operating normal services," he said. "Previous experience of terrorism threats shows us that people continue to regard Britain as an attractive, welcoming and friendly destination.

"Britain is not unique in facing this kind of threat. The British security services are experienced and cooperate closely at national and international levels."

London's tourism market has proved resilient to terrorist attacks in the past. The 7/7 terror attacks in 2005 saw tourist numbers bounce back to normal levels within just three months.

US VISITORS ARE LOYAL US travellers to Britain are regarded as being particularly loyal, with three quarters of them being repeat visitors. Some 3.4 million North Americans visited the UK in the 12 months to July. In London, US citizens account for about 13% of all visitors. In 2009, a total of 1.8m people visited the capital.

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By Janet Harmer

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