The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) condemns Tuesday’s suicide bomb attack in Istanbul’s tourist district Sultanahmet that has caused the loss of many innocent lives. Sultanahamet district is near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, the two largest tourist attractions in the city.
“It is with great sadness that we hear that Turkey has again fallen victim to a terrorist attack. Our hearts go out to all the families of those killed and the casualties of this atrocity”, David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, said in a statement.
According to media reports, nine of those killed were German and one was Peruvian. At least 15 other foreigners were wounded by the blast.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that the suicide bomber was a foreign member of Islamic State (ISIS). While speaking in Ankara, Davutoglu said the suicide bomber is thought to have recently crossed into Turkey from Syria.
“The world continues to face a continuous threat of terror, which in some occasions has directly targeted tourists in a country. Turkey is an important tourist destination, where Travel & Tourism contributes around 12 percent of the country’s total GDP”, Mr Scowsill said.
After the explosion, the German Foreign Ministry advised country’s citizens to show “increased caution” when traveling to the Turkish city of Istanbul and Germany’s federation of tour operators urged German tourists to contact their travel agents.
“It is important to reiterate that tourism is a force for good, and that people will not stop traveling in the face of these isolated incidents around the world”, Mr Scowsill added.
“Governments must continue to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place, to facilitate travel for business and leisure purposes.”