Travel industry confident despite crisis

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The Independent Online

The British travel industry believes it can ride out a crisis of confidence among tourists caused by the bombing in Bali despite operators cancelling trips to the island.

The British travel industry believes it can ride out a crisis of confidence among tourists caused by the bombing in Bali despite operators cancelling trips to the island.

Tour companies were offering cancellations without penalty or offering alternative trips, which were generally being taken in South-east Asia.

Most holidaymakers visit Indonesia as part of a trip around the region and the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said the number of Britons travelling solely to Indonesia was relatively low because of the difficulty of getting a direct flight. It said that while the tourism industry had suffered badly in the three months after last year's 11 September attacks, trade had since picked up to previous levels.

Share prices in some travel companies fell sharply yesterday in response to the bombing and a statement said to have been issued by Osama bin Laden.

Europe's biggest travel firm, the German group TUI, which owns Thomson, Lunn Poly and Britannia Airways, fell by 6.5 per cent and the French-listed Club Med sank by 12.7 per cent. Shares in the First Choice group, which includes Hayes & Jarvis, were also down.

Tour companies said many of those already on holiday in Bali had chosen to continue with their plans. Three out of 175 holidaymakers who travelled to Bali with First Choice have said they want to return early. A number of the 244 British Airways Holidays and Thomas Cook Holidays clients also decided to stay but more than 140 tourists with Thomson Holidays were being flown home. Kuoni said it had 343 clients in Indonesia and they were being contacted to see whether they wished to cut short their visit.

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