Mon, Nov 16, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese tourists returning from Paris ‘glad to be home’

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Taiwanese tourists who cut their holidays short and returned home following Friday’s attacks in Paris that left at least 126 people dead said they were relieved to be back.

“It is nice to be back in Taiwan,” a woman surnamed Chung (莊) said upon her arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that the attacks in Paris were “an act of war” organized from abroad by the Islamic State with internal help.

Following the attacks, the French government declared a national state of emergency.

Chung yesterday said she and her family hid in a friend’s house after the attacks and decided to depart for the airport in Paris earlier than scheduled to avoid the attack sites throughout the French capital.

Some of the Taiwanese tourists returning home from Paris on an EVA Airways flight yesterday showed videos and photographs they had taken on their mobile phones.

One tourist, surnamed Wu (吳), said they were on their way to their hotel after dinner when the gunmen launched their coordinated attacks.

“When our tour bus drove past the national stadium of France, we saw armed police officers and thought that something must be wrong. Our tour guide also said that something must have happened and asked us to stay on the bus. We were then told after we arrived at the hotel that there were terrorist attacks in the city. It was scary, but we are glad we can come home safely,” he said.

According to the Tourism Bureau, there were 145 Taiwanese in five tour groups in France when the attacks hit six sites in Paris at 9:20pm local time on Friday.

All of the Taiwanese tourists were safe, the bureau said.

The bureau added that a total of 275 Taiwanese tourists from six different travel agencies were traveling in Paris as of yesterday, adding that the tour guides would ask tourists if they would like to change their travel itineraries.

EVA Airways, which offers direct flights between Taipei and Paris, advised passengers to confirm their seats at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport as early as possible due to heightened security at the airport, adding that its check-in counters would open three hours before flight departure times.

It said that passengers might face long queues due to security controls.

Meanwhile, the French representative office in Taiwan on Saturday established an online condolence book on Facebook.

It said the page was opened as a platform for people who want to send messages to pay their respects to the dead and express empathy with the people of France.

This story has been viewed 2473 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top