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Industry resolute after latest Europe terror attacks

August 21, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tour operators are staying resolute in the face of the latest Islamist terror attacks in Spain, Finland and Russia, monitoring the situation but not reacting with big changes or cancellations.

Tour operators and major cruise lines indicated they would press on with visits to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most popular cities and a major port for Mediterranean cruises. Little or no effect on bookings was reported.

Airbnb offered free accommodation for people impacted by the attack and checking into the area between 17 August and 7 September.

Hopes were fading last night for a seven-year-old Australian boy missing after the horrific attack in Barcelona, where a van mowed down pedestrians on Las Ramblas, one of Europe’s most famous pedestrian precincts.

In the early hours of the this morning, tragic news came through that the boy, Julian Cadman, 7, was among those who had been killed. He was visiting Barcelona with his mother, who is in serious condition in hospital. The boy’s father arrived in Barcelona at the weekend after flying out from Sydney.

Six other Australians were hurt in the carnage, which killed over a dozen people and injured about 100 more.

Spanish police shot dead a number of terrorists who tried to stage another attack at Cambrils at about the same time. Police have named some Moroccans they suspect were behind the attacks. They are still hunting for a member of an  Islamic extremist cell  along with a missing Muslim imam believed to have radicalised the Moroccan group.

In Finland, meanwhile, a knife-wielding cutthroat launched apparently random attacks in the city of Turku, killing two people. Police arrested an 18-year-old Moroccan man. They say the knife attacker appears to have specifically targeted women and they are treating the incident as terrorism-related. Seven other people are in intensive care.

In a similar incident, a man armed with a knife attacked seven people in the Siberian city of Surgut. Russian police said the rampaging assailant resisted arrest so they shot him dead. Terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and for the Barcelona atrocity.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Barcelona, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected,” Norwegian spokeswoman Vanessa Picariello told USA Today.

Other lines adopted the same stance.

The UN World Tourism Organisation strongly condemned “the heinous attack perpetrated yesterday in the city of Barcelona and expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the innocent victims and to the people and government of Spain.

“We are deeply saddened by this act of terror and the tragic loss of innocent lives. In these difficult times, our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“This is again a cowardly attack against all of us and a strong reminder that we need to be united, as an international community, in fighting these forces of darkness and all acts of terror”, he added expressing UNWTO’s full solidarity with Spain, headquarters of UNWTO, and its people.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) also strongly condemned the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

Written by Peter Needham

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