HALIFAX – With last week’s deadly violence in Paris still fresh on people’s minds, those who have an upcoming trip to Europe may be having second thoughts.
French president François Hollande called for more police officers on Monday, and an extension to the country’s state of emergency after several shootings and bombings occurred in the city, killing more than 120 people on Friday night.
READ MORE: Paris attacks: French President calls for 3-month extension of state of emergency
However, some Maritimers are not letting the recent events stop them from travelling to the region.
Katie Perfitt is one of four young people from Halifax headed to Paris as part of the Canadian Youth Delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference. She and the rest of the team have spent the last couple of months preparing for their role, which includes monitoring the talks and holding the Canadian government accountable on targets and goals.
Perfitt says she reacted to last week’s attack with horror, but after some careful consideration, has decided she will be heading to Paris next week.
“After some time thinking about what this means for the climate negotiations, I’ve come to really believe, and our team really believes, it’s so important that civil society is still able to show up in the way that we had planned,” Perfitt said.
“Going is a symbol. We’re saying we won’t be held prisoner by fear.”
Dartmouth-based travel agent Faith Sproule says while some travellers may be leering of heading to Europe now, she has encountered the opposite.
Several clients have already opted to go ahead with their Paris trips, including a multi-generational family that is planning a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip.
“I think people are going to be considering a little more where they go in Europe and if this is the year to go to Europe but I think it’s important for people if those were the plans to continue as planned,” said Sproule, who owns Niche Travel Group.
“There are so many great ties with Canada and France so I think it’s important to have people travel to that area and support their country.”
READ MORE: How it happened: a timeline of the Paris massacre
Military analyst Tim Dunne agrees and says he would have no qualms about travelling to Paris or Europe in general. But he does believe the situation will be chaotic at this point and borders may be harder to get through.
He advises visitors to be alert, have their passports handy and follow all instructions from the police and military.
“If you want to go to Paris, I would suggest you still go just be more aware of the personal precautions you have to take to ensure your own safety.” he said.
“It used to be that you were safer in crowds than being alone. Now, I think it’s safer to be either on your own or with a few people rather than larger crowds because that attracts the kind of terrorist that we are experiencing today.”
There is no nationwide travel advisory in effect for France, but the federal government is warning Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution due to the current elevated threat of violence.”