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Will Scotland's Release of Terrorist Affect Tourism?

August 24, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Scottish tourism officials have played down suggestions that the release of the Lockerbie bomber could lead to an American travel boycott.

A website,, set up over the weekend describes the Scottish government’s decision to free Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi as “inexcusable” and recommends a moratorium on leisure and business travel.

The Scottish government said the decision to release the only man to be convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was made on compassionate grounds following claims that al-Megrahi has less than three months left to live having contracted terminal cancer.

However, the decision has been met with condemnation from the U.S., including President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticizing the release.

The outcry will be viewed as highly embarrassing as it comes in the middle of the Year of Homecoming, a Scottish government campaign aimed at attracting those with Scottish ancestry—mainly Americans—to visit the country of their roots.

The U.S. is the biggest national tourism market for Scotland, making up 21 percent of overseas spend last year.

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