The UK travel industry could miss out on American tourists this summer after the US government issued a new travel alert highlighting the threat of terrorism to its citizens visiting Europe.
The US State Department warned its nationals that it “remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks” on the continent in the wake of a string of incidents in recent weeks.
The State Department cited recent attacks in France, Russia, Sweden, and the UK as evidence that Islamic State, al-Qaida and the groups’ affiliates “have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe”.
The State Department said: “While local governments continue counter-terrorism operations, the department nevertheless remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks.
“US citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathisers or self-radicalised extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning.
“Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets.
“In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks.
“US citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations, in particular during the upcoming summer travel season when large crowds may be common.
“Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack.”
The State Department urged US citizens planning to travel between countries in Europe to check the US embassy’s website or consulate in their destination city for any recent security messages.
The alert, which was issued yesterday, added: “We continue to work closely with our European partners and allies on the threat from international terrorism.
“Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.”
The State Department’s previous travel alert for Europe, which was issued ahead of the winter holiday season, expired in February.
The current alert, which expires on September 1, was not prompted by a specific threat, but was recognition of the continuing risk of attacks especially ahead of the summer holidays, an official told Reuters news agency.