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BARCELONA - THE OPTIONS FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS AND CONVENTION VISITORS TO SPAIN


Recent terrorist events may force some families to question how and where they should be taking their holidays this year and indeed if the holiday is already booked and paid for, will you get your cash back?

And what about the huge conventions booked into the City over the next few weeks including the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) conference, which is expected to bring 32,000 delegates to Barcelona, when it opens on 26 August ?


The wicked van attack killing innocent people just enjoying a stroll down La Rambla  (aka Las Ramblas) is just the latest in a series of cowardly attacks.

The Foreign Office offers some advice but unless our government declares formally it is a no go area- unlikely- travel insurance firms will not pay out and your various holiday and travel contracts will stand.

The FO says: “If you're in the immediate area you should take care and follow the advice of the local security authorities.”  Well sage advice, but that might not help if you are in the middle of it.

True there are transport links out of Barcelona to other parts of Europe and it also has a well connected but busy airport. But your own air tickets may be of the type that cannot be changed or the date altered to suit an early departure?

So an early departure will be at your own expense and you might think that is a small price to pay. However consider Spain like many other major destination has been high on the terrorist bucket list, and indeed the local Catalan Government has attracted some local political unrest so you might say this was to be expected? And you should have known about it before booking?

Having said that a few airlines and a handful of holiday firms have in the past, offered their clients the option of returning early if there is space on any of their flights. But there again the incident has happened and the location now has to be one of the most secure in Europe, so why not show solidarity with the locals and carry on regardless, and enjoy what remains of your precious holiday time?

Still not convinced?  The budget airline easyJet, holiday provider and most active UK operator to Barcelona, easyJet, commented: “Any passenger not wishing to travel on flights to or from Barcelona in the next 48 hours can change their flight with no change fee.”

This reaction from British Airways is also encouraging: "Customers due to travel to or from Barcelona in the coming days are being offered a range of options if they wish to bring forward or postpone their journey, and we encourage anyone with concerns about their booking to contact us or their travel agent to discuss their travel plans.”



The port in Barcelona is reasonably close to the airport ( and an early morning 20 minute walk- impossible once the sun rises!), easily reached without the need to go into the city centre. But the word is cruise lines will not be offering changes or refunds, although there is talk any overnight stays in Barcelona may be cut, and had the situation deteriorated, the usual form is for the ship to miss out the destination and head for the next port of call.

But can anyone guarantee there will be no futher attacks? The simple answer is no. We all have to keep out wits about us and be aware of our surroundings. Harsh words maybe but practical advice. All major cities and popular destinations are potential targets for these deluded evil people.  

Meanwhile with commendable speed Barcelona Turisme has set up a 24-hour call line and is offering alternative hotel rooms for those affected by the terror attacks.

The convention bureau says the city has activated its emergency plan, and that it is working with Gremi d'Hotels to house those who need it.

It comes after a vehicle drove into crowds on Las Ramblas late Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring dozens more.

A second attack took place early Friday morning in Catalan, when a vehicle drove into seven people including a police officer, leaving one person in a critical condition.

Barcelona Turisme said that it condemned the attack in Barcelona and that it would join in a minute's silence at Catalunya Square at 12pm to "share the grief with all victims".

London & Partners has also reacted to the attacks, saying on Twitter that the bureau's "thoughts and sympathies are with those affected by the incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils".

The terror attack comes ahead of three major conventions this month, including the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) conference, which is expected to bring 32,000 delegates when it opens on 26 August.

Barcelona came in third in the latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings, behind Paris and Vienna, after hosting 181 conferences in 2016. 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

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