Thursday 23 November 2017

US issues travel warning for all of Europe after Brussels attacks

Travel alerts

German police officers guard a terminal of the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo: AP
German police officers guard a terminal of the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo: AP
A Belgian soldier speaks to a police officer outside Brussels Central Station as people are allowed in small groups of ten to reach the station in order to take their commuter train following attacks in Brussels. Getty Images
A tearful, Tintin, quickly emerged as a symbol of solidarity in the chaotic aftermath of the Brussels bombings as social media users worldwide took to Facebook and other Web streams for check ins by loved ones potentially in harm's way. Getty Images
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The US State Department has issued a broad warning for travel in Europe following this week's terrorist attacks in Brussels.

"The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe following several terrorist attacks, including the March 22 attacks in Brussels claimed by ISIL," it says.

"Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation."

The Travel Alert, which expires on June 20, advises US citizens to remain vigilant in public places and while using mass transportation in Europe.

"Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events," it adds.

The US issued a global travel alert following the Paris attacks last November, saying potential attackers could target private or government interests, but this latest warning specifically focuses on Europe.

The alert doesn't warn against travel per se, but its stark language and unusual nature is likely to spark fears for business and tourism throughout the continent.

North American visitors to Ireland grew 28pc last year, with peak season for US tourism stretching from April to October, for example.

Shares in Ryanair and IAG dropped following the Tuesday attacks in Brussels, while a January report from research firm MKG showed that French hoteliers could lose up to €270m between November and March as a result of the Paris attacks.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise Irish citizens to remain vigilant and "exercise extreme caution" in Belgium.

Read the US State Department's alert here.

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