Terrorist attack kills Christmas parties

Office
Christmas parties are being cancelled in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks
in the USA.

Hotels
are reporting a cut in bookings from American tourists and business travellers
as well as cancellations of Christmas parties.

The
Dorchester Hotel in London has been hit on both fronts. Around 40 per cent of
its customers are from the USA and many have been cancelling reservations since
September 11.

In
addition, Christmas parties are being cancelled, particularly those organised
by American firms in London or by companies with employees working in the USA.

It
is another blow for a service industry that is already struggling because of
the foot and mouth epidemic. It is estimated that 75 per cent of American
tourists stayed away from the UK this year compared to the year 2000.

Talking
about business since the terrorist attacks, a spokeswoman for the Dorchester
Hotel said, "Obviously we’ve had a lot of cancellations. Business figures
for the end of the year are not looking good at all. Our banqueting halls are
usually fully booked from November until a few days before Christmas, but
Christmas parties are being cancelled."

Event
organisers are also reporting cancellations. The corporate entertainment firm
Event Wise said that a tenth of its total functions were cancelled in the two
weeks after the attacks.

By Ben Willmott

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