Kiwi tourists are still expected to travel to terror hotspots in the wake of the Brussels attacks - but insurance is unlikely to cover any terror-related cancellations.

A security expert is urging New Zealanders to be more vigilant after this week's Islamic State suicide bombings that killed 34 people and injured hundreds in the Belgian capital.

Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, whose CV includes reviewing the UK's national security and Civil Contingencies Act for then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, says crowded areas, landmarks, major cities, airports and stations should all be approached with caution, even in New Zealand.

"People here and travelling overseas need to be more vigilant, manage their own security and have contingency plans. Don't depend on the authorities," Sullivan-Taylor told the Herald on Sunday.


"The pattern of these attacks is always the same: soft targets, crowded places and rush hours, where large numbers are moving through stations and airports and it causes the most chaos. People travelling in similar places anywhere in the world need to always be vigilant."

Sullivan-Taylor's warning comes after a spate of high-profile terror attacks. This month a car bomb killed 37 people and injured 125 in Ankara, Turkey, where four also died in a suicide attack on a main shopping street in Istanbul.

Most notably, 130 people were killed and almost 400 injured in a brutal series of orchestrated attacks in Paris in November.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Thursday warned Kiwis of "some risks" when travelling to many European nations, including high-security risks in Belgium, advising against all tourist and other non-essential travel to the country.

"Research has found that people tend to return to these locations," Sullivan-Taylor said.

"They often feel these places are under closer scrutiny and security checking so would be safer than anywhere else as the perpetrators are less likely to attack where there is such close monitoring.

"Events like these have an immediate effect on travel, hence New Zealanders might question areas recently targeted or other major cities and airports which could be targets."

Mfat is also advising Kiwis to "take out comprehensive travel insurance" and register their details on

Flight Centre and House of Travel are reporting a slight downturn in Kiwis browsing summer travel to Europe.

"Unfortunately New Zealanders have seen this kind of thing many times before and have become pretty resilient to these incidents," House of Travel's retail director Brent Thomas said.

"I'm not aware of any customers cancelling their travel plans to Europe because of what happened in Brussels but some may delay booking their trips for a few weeks."

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said people cancelling trips to Europe simply because of the latest terror scares were unlikely to be compensated by their travel insurer.

"Something [has to] happen that is beyond people's control or responsibility before travel insurance might be relevant."