Local News

Local travel agent: Turkey terrorist attacks a 'game changer'

Posted June 29, 2016 6:32 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2016 6:51 p.m. EDT

— One day after three suicide attackers armed with guns and bombs killed 42 people and wounded hundreds at Istanbul's busy Ataturk Airport, many Triangle travel agents have been busy monitoring security and answering questions from concerned travelers.

Anita Lynch, a travel agent based in Raleigh, said some travelers she is helping are now reconsidering Turkey as their final destination.

"There is no question in my mind - this will be a game changer," she said.

Lynch is currently working with a family of seven planning a visit to Istanbul as part of a cruise in the coming weeks.

"Their first reaction when I spoke to them was, 'My kids are not getting off the boat,'" Lynch said.

Lynch has been busy working to find alternative activities for the family and has contacted other clients who were planning to visit Turkey later this year.

"Certainly anybody who was planning a land trip I'm sure is not thinking twice and three times about it," she said.

Christy Parrish Michels is responsible for coordinating travel for Duke University. Like Lynch, Michels was busy Wednesday working to track down the four Duke affiliated travelers currently in Turkey.

"We are in touch with all of the travelers that are on the ground in Istanbul making sure they have what they need," Michels said.

A group if undergraduate students are scheduled to travel to Turkey next month. Michels said she has been fielding calls from concerned parents.

"On July 5, we will make a security assessment on whether that program should proceed," she said.

Lynch said she is putting her clients' safety first but knows it will take a toll on the country already struggling with tourism.

"This is going to work. ISIS is going to scare people off now," Lynch said.

She said while it is hard to know what exactly will happen, she anticipates the attack will cause a major slowdown in Turkish tourism for at least a year.