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14-04-2018 10:54 | Read 1433 times

Tourism hit by Syrian conflict

Bookings for holidays to North Cyprus slumped by up to 50 per cent this week, as fearful travellers backed off over fears of an imminent escalation of the Syrian conflict.

Tourism hit by Syrian conflict

Photo: Susie Forster

By Kerem Hasan

The growing war of words between the US and Russia in the wake of a suspected gas attack by Syrian forces and concrete preparations for threatened retaliatory air strikes, have conjured up for the TRNC tourism industry the spectre of a crisis nearly 30 years ago.

RAF Tornados took off from the Akrotiri UK military base in South Cyprus for the assault on Syria — just 60 miles from the Karpaz peninsula at its closest. A US naval battle group is also in place in the eastern Mediterranean.

The escalation of tensions prompted Eurocontrol, the Brussels-based European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, to warn pilots flying in the eastern Mediterranean of “the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles”.

Eurocontrol also said the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had issued a “Rapid Alert Notification” for airspace south of eastern Turkey.

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