Terror has changed the face of many popular destinations.

The insidious creep of concrete blocks and barriers has spread across what once were charming capitals and busy tourist hubs around the world.

In Paris, work is underway to surround the Eiffel Tower with a 2.5m, bullet-proof wall.

France's characterful gendarmes and the UK's local Bobbies have been phased out for meaner, more streamlined models carrying submachine guns. As an unassuming tourist, you'd certainly think twice before approaching them with questions as to the time or the best way to Leicester Square.


In general, things continue much as they always have done. Most of these changes are superficial and rarely needed, but that is the issue. We forget the sad reason why these changes have come about. They have become the norm.

Nowhere is this more true than in the journey taken by holiday-makers going abroad, says Newstalk ZB's Kate Hawkesby.

"We barely give a second thought to slipping off our shoes at LAX, emptying our water bottles, or putting our liquids into plastic bags," said the radio host on returning from London.

Navigating through "huge concrete eyesores" at every intersection was more of a nuisance than a cause for distress. She would not have given them a second thought, were she not accompanied by her young - and overly inquisitive - daughter.

Having to explain these measures to her youngest child was heart-breaking; why roadblocks were put up by the side of the road, train stations patrolled by armed guards, or why her safety scissors were taken from her by airport security.

"It's not until you say that stuff out loud to a wide-eyed child that you realise how tragic it is and how acclimatised to it we are," Hawkesby said.

Using the word "terrorism" by way of explanation is a little over-simplistic, even for a young child. There is a danger it is becoming a justification, for which there is no comeback and often very little questioning.

New bullet-proof control gates infront of the tower sit at odds with carefree Paris. Photo / Chesnot, Getty
New bullet-proof control gates infront of the tower sit at odds with carefree Paris. Photo / Chesnot, Getty

There are things being ushered in with these anti-terrorism measures which certainly should be questioned.


Over the past three years 200 people have been killed in the city of Paris by jihadist attacks. The measures against further incidents have been welcomed, but you wonder if there aren't ulterior motives at play.

Terror has cost the romantic side of travel dearly.

As the barrier goes up around the Eiffel Tower you can no longer reach it without a ticket. Gone are the days when cash-strapped lovers could wander beneath the great structure on the spur of the moment.

Admission is being raised from €17 to €25, about $40, and there is a drive to get visitors to pre-book tickets online.

"It's still below the average price of monuments worldwide, like the Empire State Building," said Jean-François Martins, who is deputy mayor of Paris and also in charge of tourism for the city.