ITT confirms delegates not affected by Tel Aviv gun attack

ITT confirms delegates not affected by Tel Aviv gun attack

The Institute of Travel and Tourism has confirmed that delegates attending its annual conference in Tel Aviv were not affected by a gun attack in the city which left four dead and six wounded.

Gunmen opened fire in an area of cafes and restaurants close to a central military headquarters and around 3km from the ITT conference hotel in the north of Tel Aviv.

However, conference delegates were gathered at a farewell party in Jaffa in the south of the city when the attack occurred on Wednesday evening.

The attack took place at Sarona Market, which is based close to the defence ministry. Initial reports locally said two armed man opened fire at passers-by near the Benedict restaurant. The gunmen then reportedly opened fire at the nearby Ha'arbaa Street.

Speaking at the ITT event, Naama Oryan Kaplan, director of Israel Government tourist office UK and Ireland, told Travel Weekly the incident was isolated and dealt with quickly by the security services.

She added that the security services in Israel are the best in the world and that the safety of tourists including ITT delegates would be a top priority.

"I'm confident in our security services that this is just an isolated incident,” she said.

“Everyone is safe. The hundreds and thousands of tourists are now and always are our priority to take care of.

"It's taken a long time to bring ITT here and we do believe in the strength of the relationship with the UK trade. What's happened is unfortunate but we can't let an external event affect us.”

She added: “I will feel perfectly safe tonight walking out of here by myself and taking a taxi to go to another part of the town.

"We feel we are in the spotlight when all around the world things like this happen on a daily basis. That's not the case here. Life here carries on."

Travel Weekly head of news Lee Hayhurst said the final night event had been unaffected by the attack, and no changes had been made to plans as a result.

In a statement, the ITT said: "We are extremely sad to hear about the events in Tel Aviv tonight and our thoughts are with families of those affected.

“We would like to reassure everyone back home that our delegates are well and enjoying the farewell party after a great conference."

ITT member and Tel Aviv resident Avi Kirdeo, chief executive of corporate travel technology specialist ComBtas, said: "What has happened is very far away from here and everything is now fine. The streets are quiet. I have three children aged 14, 18 and 26 and all are in the city now and it's very safe.

“This can happen anywhere. The security services and police acted very quickly. As a local this does not worry me."

The ITT conference has been taking place at the Hilton Tel Aviv and attracted speakers such as former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and the bosses of major travel companies including Tui UK and Ireland and Thomas Cook.

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