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Advice and recent communications from the Tourism Immediate Emergency Response (TIER) Group led by VisitBritain on behalf of the Tourism Industry

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Brussels Attacks

Situation Update: 23 March 2016 09.45

More than 30 people were killed and dozens more injured in explosions at Brussels airport and a metro station on Tuesday. Twin blasts struck the main terminal of Zaventem international airport, in the north-east of the city. Another explosion hit the Maelbeek metro station in the city centre, close to several European Union institutions. The so-called Islamic State group said it was behind the attacks.

Two Britons were injured in the blasts and there are also concerns for David Dixon whose family said he had not been seen since the attacks.

Brussels Zaventem airport closed after the attacks, with all flights diverted elsewhere. Officials say it will remain closed on Wednesday. The city's entire metro rail system was shut down after the explosion at Maelbeek station. Some tram and bus services were also halted but public transport was restarted at 16:00 local time, with some metro lines reopening. Eurostar suspended its high-speed rail service to and from Brussels initially but services are now running normally.

Belgium raised its terror threat to its highest level following Tuesday's attacks.

The threat to the UK from international terrorism remains unchanged at severe, as it has been since August 2014, meaning an attack is highly likely.

David Cameron has chaired an emergency Cobra meeting to determine the UK's response to the Brussels attacks.

Home Secretary Theresa May will make a statement to the Commons on the UK response at about 12:30 GMT, following Prime Minister's Questions.

Lines to take

  • We extend our sympathy to the people of Belgium and to those that have been injured and lost loved ones after the attack yesterday
  • The threat of terrorism is a global one
  • Many countries including Britain have increased police security at key locations as a precautionary measure to protect to the public, and provide reassurance. This is not in relation to any specific information or intelligence.
  • The UK police and security and intelligence services are working tirelessly and at a pace to keep the public safe.
  • Tourism has proved itself to be a robust industry and previous experience of terrorism threats shows us that people continue to regard Britain as an attractive, welcoming and friendly destination.
  • Our job continues to be to promote tourism to the nations and regions of Britain
  • We have campaigns in market and will continue to promote the beauty of the British countryside and vibrancy of its cities
  • Domestically 12% of Brits plan an overnight stay over Easter, worth £1.5 billion to the economy

Advice to visitors

  • If you’re planning to travel between Brussels and Britain today, Zaventem Airport is currently closed.
  • Eurostar services is running a normal service to and from Brussels Midi – passengers are requested to allow an hour to check-in, due to enhanced security checks at the stations.
  • Customers are advised to allow extra time for check-in at airports and ferry terminals as security checks may take longer than usual.
  • Please contact your travel provider for updates.

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