Editorial Comment

ICTP Statement: Jordan & Berlin Terror Attacks

On behalf of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners, I would like to extend our sympathy and condolences to the victims and their loved ones affected by the criminal attacks in Jordan, and in Berlin during December 2016. Both incidents were senseless acts by disguised criminals aimed at disabling the world’s largest industry: Travel and Tourism. By Juergen T. Steinmetz.

In the Jordan incident, outlaws carried out an attack on a police station in the southern Jordanian city of Kerak, in the vicinity of the Kerak Castle. This cowardly attack killed 5 members of the security forces, a Canadian tourist and 4 gunmen. There were also 12 injuries reported as a result of this heinous act.

It took heroes like Jordanian law enforcement to prevent more harm, and it will take all of us, our community of travel and tourism professionals, to take leadership and encourage our clients and the public to consider travelling to amazing places including Berlin, Jordan, Egypt, Istanbul, Brussels, Nice, Paris, Kenya, Tunisia, and New York.

You may not see this in the headlines, but everything possible is being done in these great destinations and most other parts of the world to keep travellers safe.

Terror attacks make headlines, but we should not forget the proportion of criminal incidents a tourist could fall victim to, compared to a billion people travelling each year. The world, including those places that had been randomly hit by widely-publicized headlines, are safe and will remain safe. In other places, criminal acts are becoming routine. Dozens are getting killed in Chicago every week by gunshots, and yet tourism, meetings, and conventions in the Windy City are booming.

Don’t let a handful of fanatics and criminals alter our way of life. Travel and Tourism is a contributor to peace and understanding. Travel and Tourism translate to jobs and prosperity for 10% of the world’s population. This makes our industry one of the largest economic players. Travel and Tourism must and will remain resilient.

In the Berlin incident, tourists from all over the world, and local “Berliners” alike, were enjoying the Christmas Market next to the famous Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, when a truck ploughed into the market, injuring at least 48 people and killing 12 as a result. Police confirmed in a press conference to the German media that the incident was related to terror.

Berlin is a great city, and Germany will remain a welcoming country and a model for this troubled world. Islam is a peaceful religion. The same counts for Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism. Not believing in a particular God, doesn’t mean believing in doing harm.

However, if you think hate and corporal punishment and randomly killing children, tourists, and old people attending a Christmas Market will get you to Heaven or Nirvana or the like, you will be in for a terrible reality. The reality is you are simply a criminal, and disrespectful of human life.

About the Author: Juergen T. Steinmetz is the chairman of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) – a grassroots Travel & Tourism coalition of destinations and stakeholders. For more information on ICTP and how to join members in 131 countries without any cost, visit ictp.travel

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