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Road Warrior

Terrorism fears up stakes for tourism as Europe travel falls ‘off a cliff’

Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC
People look at the Eiffel Tower in Paris illuminated in colours of the Belgian flag in tribute to the victims of terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016.
Philippe Wojazer | Reuters

Paris. Nice. Brussels. Orlando. Istanbul. Venezuela. Brazil. Baton Rouge. Dallas.

The list of places around the world touched by terrorism, violence, rising crime rates and health alerts continues to grow, along with the impact on the travel and tourism industry. In 2015, the sector contributed an estimated $7.2 trillion to the world's economic output and supported more than 284 million jobs worldwide, according the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The 73.4 million Americans who traveled abroad in 2015 (up almost 8 percent from the year before) helped boost those numbers. This year, however, U.S. travelers are increasingly taking terror risks into account when making vacation plans.

In the last few weeks, the U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings for voyagers to Turkey and Europe. With geopolitical risks on the rise, some travel insurance companies report an uptick in calls from travelers checking on the details of already-purchased policies, and inquiring about pricing and broader options for future coverage.

And whether insured or not, almost a quarter of Americans now say they will cancel, delay, relocate, change or reconsider travel plans before taking a vacation, according to the annual Vacation Confidence Index released by Allianz Global Assistance. In Europe, tourism has suffered in the wake of attacks: France's tourist sector alone has lost an estimated 270 million euros ($299 million) since late 2015, according to recent data.