Terrorism and Tourism
The aim of terrorism whether at home or abroad is by definition to inspire terror into those close to the incident, it's important to remain strong and take a stance against such matters, but not at the expense of your safety. It should be the standard procedure of any tour operator to ensure all of their clients are kept safe while on holiday as part of a package that they've sold. In this article we'll cover the recent events in Ivory Coast and Turkey as well as giving you some tips on how to keep yourself away from scenarios that put you in unnecessary danger.
Terrorism in Abidjan on the Ivory Coast
The incident in Abidjan which is located on the Ivory Coast in West Africa occurred on Sunday March 13, 2016 at three of the popular beach resorts that can be found near to the capital. A shooting took the lives of 16 people throughout the resorts, making this the third in recent string of attacks throughout the region.
A North African affiliate of the Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack; the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have released a statement in which they have praised the three individuals who carried out the terrorist attack this weekend.
This continues the trend of groups with connections to Al Qaeda carrying out attacks on popular locations in the region, and while it is apparent that French authorities were aware of the possibility of an impending attack, it doesn't seem to be clear that there's a pattern emerging. As reported by The New York Times; President Alassane Ouattara has insisted that "the situation is under control"
and local authorities have appealed to both locals and holidaymakers to remain calm.
Terrorism in Ankara, Turkey
Further away in Turkey, which neighbours Syria; 37 people have been killed in Ankara following a car bomb explosion in the Kizilay neighbourhood, with a further 71 people receiving treatment following injuries sustained during this terrorist attack, 15 of which are believed to be in a serious condition. Reports have stated that the car bomb which exploded near a transport hub where amongst a bustling transport hub, the justice and interior ministries can be found including a court and police station, there is also a number of home.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a militant group have claimed responsibility for the attack stating that the ruling party will no longer be safe in "a fascist dictatorship"
and have made threats alluding to the safety of those on board international airlines and tourists in the country.
The Guardian has reported how President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken a firm stance against terrorism and has vowed to defeat these terrorists who have carried out what is just one in a series of attacks that have taken place in Turkey over the last year and a half. He was quoted as saying "These attacks, which threaten our country’s integrity and our nation’s unity and solidarity, do not weaken our resolve in fighting terrorism but bolster our determination," and that "our people should not worry, the struggle against terrorism will for certain end in success and terrorism will be brought to its knees."
What This Means for Tourism in Turkey and Africa
While these incidents are undoubtedly horrific by avoiding these areas outright we send a message to those who commit these acts that what they do is an acceptable way to achieve the results that they want. Although we would never recommend intentionally placing yourself in harm's way as a bold yet rash method to show defiance against terrorism, there are likely going to be deals that aim to entice unknowing holiday makers to travel to these locations which may appeal to you, but there are a few steps that we recommend taking before arranging for a break to any of these locations.
Speak to your Travel Agent
Check with your travel agent before booking any holiday and find out what the local political situation is in your desired destination, as any instability could be a sign that potential problems are brewing. Your travel agent should also be able to advise you of any recent terrorist activity, any potential kidnapping scenarios and how safe your holiday destination will be.
Keep an Eye on the News
National newspapers, online websites and particularly social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are traditionally very astute when it comes to issues with terrorism and recent attacks, and most worthy news vendors will include a timeline of attacks when a series of them breaks out. Keep an eye out for recent issues in your desired travel destinations, even if you just perform the occasional Google of places that you want to go to.
Check the government Foreign Travel Advice
The British government offer an online service called Foreign Travel Advice that includes a wealth of information on a number of countries and territories currently totalling 225 that includes advice on the safety of certain locations, records of recent terrorist attacks, issues with kidnapping as well as some advice on local customs and transport options. We recommend checking this site before you travel to make sure that you stay as safe as possible.
Ask the Staff at Hotels and Resorts
If you arrive at your resort and you're unsure as to which areas are safe, which taxis are to be trusted and whether there are any local customs that you want to adhere to so as to not make yourself obvious as a tourist once you have arrived at your resort, then speak to the staff at your resort. The staff at your hotel will most likely be locals and will be aware of the situation in the surrounding area and should give you sound advice.
Stay Safe in Turkey and on the Ivory CoastWhile it's impossible to predict where and when a terrorist attack will occur, by arming yourself with knowledge you reduce the risk of being involved in an attack or anything else that could put you or your family at risk. At present there are areas of Turkey that aren't considered safe, with the border with Syria being a particular cause for concern. The Foreign Travel Advice for Turkey currently states that areas within the Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt, Sirnak, Hakkâri and Tunceli regions in Turkey should be avoided, with 18 Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra in the Côte D’iIvoire (Ivory Coast) also being listed as not recommended.