19 SEPTEMBER 2001
By Daniela Farrugia Randon
The local travel industry is suffering a severe backlash following last weeks terrorist acts in the United States, with many Maltese travellers choosing to cancel trips abroad or being forced to change their plans.
The impact of terrorist attacks have already been felt in the aviation industry, with some airlines already folding and others laying off workers.
The national airline, Air Malta, has also indicated that it is stepping up its security procedures, announcing on Monday that all passengers are to be present for check-in two hours in advance of their scheduled departure time.
Travel agents told The Malta Financial and Business Times that customers had expressed concern about flying in present circumstances.
"People are very wary at the moment, especially about taking flights to the US or Libya," said a spokesman for A. & V. Von Brockdorff Travel.
Sterling Travel said a number of clients had cancelled their holidays although they added that some others had decided to travel anyway.
Kevin Manche`, of Hix Travel, said that the sector was suffering because not only were some travellers cautious about travelling and cancelling flights, both to the US and European destinations, the instability of flights had made the situation even worse.
Over the weekend, travel agents had highlighted the plight of some Maltese travellers stranded in the US who were unable to get flights back to Malta and were being forced to have to pay out to extend their stay in the States.
Norman Hamilton, from Hamilton Travel, said that some of his clients had boarded an Alitalia flight on Sunday, but added that he still had others stranded in Los Angeles.