Tourists take pictures of the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, near the site of Tuesday's explosion, in the historic Sultanahmet district in Istanbul, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
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On a normal winter's day, Ramazan Uslanmaz would lead two groups of tourists around Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district, from the towering minarets of the Blue Mosque to the labyrinthine alleyways of the Grand Bazaar.Its previous attacks, including a double suicide bombing in Ankara which killed 100 people last October, had appeared to target pro-Kurdish groups sympathetic to its battlefield enemies in Syria.Coming after anti-government protests and small-scale attacks by leftist militants, and alongside the threat of a violent spillover from an insurgency in the largely Kurdish southeast, the Istanbul bombing poses perhaps the greatest threat so far to Turkey's vital tourism industry, which accounts for about 4.5 percent of the $800 billion economy.With around 12 million visitors a year, Istanbul is the fifth-most visited city in the world, according to the 2015 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index. It is expected to have generated almost a third of Turkey's $27 billion gross tourism revenues in 2015 .But even before Tuesday's attack, the industry was already suffering.Its ability to prevent similar attacks to the Istanbul bombing will be key.
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