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US terror warning could hurt Europe’s economy

October 05
23:25 2010

MADRID: A rare advisory for US travelers to beware of potential terrorist threats in Europe drew American shrugs from Paris to Rome, but tourism officials worried that it could deter would-be visitors from moving ahead with plans to cross the Atlantic.

The travel alert is a step below a formal warning not to visit Europe, but some experts said it could still hurt a fragile European economy already hit hard by the debt crisis.

“I think if someone was looking for an excuse not to travel, then this is just the ticket,” says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. “However, I don’t think most people will alter their plans unless the threat is very specific.”

The State Department alert advised the hundreds of thousands of US citizens living or traveling in Europe to take more precautions about their personal security. Security officials say terrorists may be plotting attacks in Europe with assault weapons on public places, similar to the deadly 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, India.

Without a specific threat, however, American visitors were not letting the alert disrupt their travels.

“We live in New York. So in New York we think about these things all the time,” said Richard Mintzer, a 55-year-old American visiting Italy with his wife. “I wouldn’t say we are particularly worried in Rome, no more than we would be at home, or anywhere in the Western world.”

–AP

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