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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August, 2005, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
London attacks 'deterring' visits
London Eye
Potential visitors said they were wary of travelling to the capital
Nearly a third of Britons have been put off visits or travel in London since the July attacks, new figures suggest.

A similar number of French adults said they had been discouraged from making trips to the capital but only a fifth of Germans said they were deterred.

The TNS survey of 3,000 people for news network CNN and Time magazine was conducted between 26 and 31 July.

Tourism chiefs said any downturn was likely to be short-lived as more recent research showed "robust attitudes".

"Whilst the tourism industry is very mindful of the effect of recent events, this research is misleading, meaningless and already out of date," said Martine Ainsworth-Wells, marketing director of Visit London.

"Our figures are showing an upward trend in business to London over the last two weeks."

'Not surprising'

TNS said its survey revealed 21% of Britons - and 33% of those living in London - had become wary of using public transport.

"People in Britain also seem to be generally supportive of the introduction of additional measures on trains and buses to make them safer, even if this meant increased journey times or increases in the price of tickets," said a spokesperson for TNS.

The experience with Madrid and even New York is that after a time people come back
Colin Stanbridge, London Chamber of Commerce

TNS found that 31% of those interviewed in the UK had been deterred by the 7 July and 21 July attacks, compared to 32% in France.

Overall, 40% of women said they had been discouraged, compared with 21% of men.

"The bombs in London - together with those in Madrid in 2004 - have graphically demonstrated the vulnerability of public transport networks to terrorist attacks," said TNS.

"Users of those services are realising that tighter measures need to be put in place to guard their safety in the future."

Tube journeys

On Thursday, a senior Tube manager told BBC News passenger numbers had dropped by 30% at weekends and between 5% and 15% on weekdays since 7 July.

Police officer
Security on the transport network has been increased

Most regular commuters were continuing to travel - but a significant number of visitors and weekend shoppers were not using the system, the figures suggested.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, said the TNS findings were not surprising, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

"I think that we are bound to see that people are going to be nervous about coming to London," he told the BBC.

"But all the experience with Madrid and even New York is that after a time people come back and say 'no no no, I need to go to this destination, I want to go to this destination', and resume their bookings."

What do you think of the issues raised in this story? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.


Your comments

I am not at all deterred from going to London, I'm not a regular visitor but took my family up yesterday to visit the museums and happily went on the tube, using the Piccadilly line after it had re-opened. I'm not about to let the terrorists win and I was happy to see so many police officers at all the stations I visited. London is and will always be a great city.
Greg, Folkestone, England

Since the bombings in London I refuse to use the tube. I don't see why I should increase the risk to my life by even as little as 0.001% because of this country's foreign policy.
Robert, London, UK

Personally, I am far more worried about being mugged than getting caught up in a terrorist incident.
John Clarke, Blackpool, Lancashire

The risk in being in London is no greater now than it was on 6/7, it's just that we are now aware of what might happen. Because of the increased police presence it's most probably safer as muggers and pickpockets would be foolish to operate in such an environment.
Dave McQuirk, Manchester UK

As a Londoner be aware that anyone who allows the bombings to impact them to the point whereby they do not go / cancel going to London is behaving exactly as the terrorists want / might predict. Don't allow yourselves to be so emotionally manipulated, after all between the '60s & '90s London was subject to tens if not hundreds of IRA bombs, did that stop you then? If not why should this now?
Global_Citizen, Toronto, Canada

As a rule I am not a regular visitor to London, timing of weddings parties and other events have meant that over the last month I have been in London every weekend. I was a bit jittery the first time with it being only 2 days after the first attack, but the police presence reassured me greatly. I had a fantastic time at all events and the thought of having missed them just because some selfish idiots have a sick sense of what is right makes me glad I made the trip. I encourage everybody who has previously made plans or has thought of visiting London...Do it, is it really worth putting your life on hold because of "maybes"?
Lizzy, Kent, UK

People are naive if they think future attacks would only happen in London. There is much higher security now and many of the terrorist cells are based in different cities. I live in London and I travel every day on the tube. People who are cancelling trips etc should grow up and stop behaving irresponsibly - you are in more danger of being struck by lightning than being involved in anything.
Emily, London

My partner and I had planned to take a trip to London later in the year. If things were already booked, or if I had to travel there on business, I'd go. As it is, I've got other options and see no reason to actively put myself in a city under threat. The statistics might be low, but I've never felt comfortable on the tube and would certainly feel less so now. Why take a chance when I can go elsewhere?
Stephanie, Edinburgh, Scotland

I must say I find it hard to believe that people are allowing these attacks to affect them so badly. There are many comments here about people not wanting to bring loved ones to London because they might get blown up by a terrorist. I would like to ask whether these people ever take their children in cars or allow them to cross the road! Since September 11th far many more people have been killed on the roads than by terrorists.
Sophie, Temporarily living in Paris, France but from Bristol, UK

No one is going to stop me travelling to, through or within my home city
Ged, UK

I grew up in London and travel through it every fortnight. I always use the tube. I'm not fearless but no one is going to stop me travelling to, through or within my home city. That's that.
Ged, Oxford

I was in London for a meeting on Wednesday and did avoid the tube; I took a taxi. The driver told me that trade was very brisk and lots of business people from outside the capital are using taxis instead of the tube. I felt a bit guilty, because Londoners have to use the tube everyday.
Mike, Birmingham

As a student I have spent most of the year including the summer away from London. I was due to come home for the first time in months when the attacks happened. For obvious reason I didn't make the trip, but I have tickets booked for next Thursday and nothing will stop me getting on the tube when I get off at Euston. Londoners have worked so hard to get back to normal and we can't let these people control our lives.
Faye, London

I became uneasy living in London ever since Sept 11th. Catching the train/tube every morning, commuters jammed like sardines, it was inevitably a soft target for terrorists. How can you be vigilant when you can't see past the next person's elbow? So I spent a year researching career options elsewhere and made a move 2-3 years before the recent tragedy, and feel sadly vindicated for doing so. I have a young family now and wouldn't want them anywhere near congested population centres in current times. Sorry, but that's the way I feel.
Lloyd, Wales

The problem is that we fear more the things we can't control
Neville Prior, Bishops Stortford, UK

I have overseas business visitors who will not come to the UK now; this really is having an effect! Personally it doesn't stop me going to London, and it doesn't stop my family either. There are far more dangerous things we all do in life such as driving: the problem is that we fear more the things we can't control.
Neville Prior, Bishops Stortford, UK

I was a student in London for 4 years and nothing ever stopped me from taking the tube to places. I must admit that now I would think twice before using the tube, but I honestly think we can't let fear overcome us like this. The terrorists want us to feel a sense of vulnerability and insecurity and as far as I am concerned we should not let them succeed, in any ways or form.
Aviruth, Bangkok, Thailand

Millions probably hundreds of millions of train and bus journeys have been made in the time since 9/11 and fifty people have lost their lives. The probability of this happening to you are so miniscule as to be discountable. People, stop being so scared!
Colin, Portugal

Several of my Japanese colleagues have already cancelled trips to London, though some have said they will simply visit other areas of the UK instead. Here there is still the memory of the Sarin gas attack on the underground, so people have experienced the horror of a terrorist act already and not surprisingly don't wish to be near it again.
Tom, Tokyo, Japan

The 7/7 attacks has made me rethink about which university I should study at. I was thinking about one in London, but now I am not. Stupid it may seem but these attacks have really shaken me up and I am not willing to travel on tube stations knowing that there is still a threat on the London transport system. I'm better off staying in Birmingham.
Arun, Birmingham

The incidents did not affect our using the tube system
Russ Eberhart, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

My wife, 18-year-old son and I were on the tube near Victoria Station when the second attempted bombings occurred last month. On that Thursday, we had just arrived for three days' sightseeing in London, which we enjoyed very much. The incidents did not affect our using the tube system, which we did frequently. Although I am more watchful, the bombings and attempted bombings have not and will not deter me from using London's fine underground system.
Russ Eberhart, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

My wife and I were planning a family day out with our 4 and 1 year olds this week, and when I suggested London (Millennium Eye, Boat Trip on the Thames etc.), she immediately said, "No, it's not a safe place to bring the kids"... and she's right. It's a real shame, but I think we are typical of people who don't have to work in London, so just don't go there at all at the moment, if at all avoidable.
Brendan, Kent

My family and I have just spent a 4 day holiday in London over the weekend. I was amazed that there was a heavy police presence on the underground on the Thursday, many fewer on the Friday and none over the weekend. Are the police naive enough to think the bombers will strike again at set times? I was apprehensive at using the tube for the first journey but this soon disappeared and it is really the only way to get around if you want to see all the sights in a limited time at reasonable cost.
Tony Bateson, Louth, England

I am about to visit London for vacation and I cannot say that the 7/7 incidents have forced me to change my mind at all. New measures introduced by the Met police make me feel safer, because I can be sure that they are doing all they can to prevent another attack. As for a low-budget tourist, higher ticket prices makes me much more worried. And by the way, fighting terrorism also means not letting London and Londoners down by staying away, so I'll definitely take the journey.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

The issues raised are extremely pertinent. A nation which relies to a great degree on foreign visitors for tourism and commerce should be concerned about the deterrent effect of terrorism. The current assignment of 6000 Met police to the tube infrastructure should bolster visitor confidence in London Transport anti-terror posture. Also fines for abandoned parcels (duly recorded by CCTV) should be levied on offenders. This would make the average person think what do I really need to carry on the tube? False alarms from abandoned bags drain police manpower.
James Waldrop, San Francisco, California

I am visiting London this coming weekend on a break that was planned well before the bombings. I fully intend to use the underground and the buses. I refuse to allow a very small minority of people to change the way I live my life.
Joanne Hart, Lincoln

Could this ever result in the Congestion Charge being scrapped or changed?
Vassilios Kirellous, London, England

I was intending to take my little boy on his first trip to London over the summer holidays. He was excited about seeing the Tower of London, Buckingham palace etc. But I cannot bring myself to visit as we would have to use the tube/bus whilst down there. I will not take that risk with my son, however small it may be. My son is missing out and so will London trade!
Sarah J, Worcester

My wife had arranged a day trip to London with her mum, sister and nephew next week. I have asked her to change her plans and they are now not going to travel. It is a shame but what would I do if something happened? I can understand people saying we must keep travelling into London, but how did those people feel caught up in the second attempted bombings having "continued to travel"?
Jonathan Riddle, Northampton, England

I knew it would only be a matter of time before London transport was hit. My partner travelled by train and tube for 25 years to London and I travelled regularly for meetings. We decided to change our lives before they were changed for us and left England last year, not everyone's choice we know but one we made. I would not feel comfortable travelling on London transport any time in the future and really feel for those who have to as we did.
Janice, Spain

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