The murder of four foreign cyclists in Tajikistan this week has already had a palpable dampening effect on the country’s tourism industry – a cruel blow in a year the government had dedicated to drawing more visitors, according to

Hostels, tourist agencies and one major airline contacted by Eurasianet have all reported cancellations and last-minute travel-plan changes after the Islamic State group claimed the hit-and-run killings.

The Tajik Committee for the Development of Tourism claimed on July 30 that around 900,000 visitors arrived in the country over the first six months of the year, a massive spike from the 430,000 recorded for the whole of 2017.

“It is true that we are very worried about what has happened,” said Numon Abdughafforzoda, head of the Committee for the Development of Tourism, told reporters in Dushanbe on July 30.  Abdughafforzoda, however, insisted that the violence should not pose an obstacle to tourism in Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, most travel company representatives spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity around the issue, according to

A representative for Turkish Airlines reportedly said that many tourists began canceling flights as early as July 30, while those already in the country were leaving earlier.

The Pamir Guides tour agency, which offers 10-day trips around the country and through the Pamir Mountains, said that they have lost $8,000 since the murders.

“We have simply lost our business. Nine Swiss citizens who had booked tours with us have cancelled. And there are some other tours we had booked, with Italian tourists, that are now in doubt,” an agency representative told

It was reportedly a similar story at Sarez Travel, which does tours to remote locations in the Pamir Mountains, like Lake Sarez Lake and the Wakhan Corridor, and to the Fann Mountains.  Sulton Guliyev, who handles public relations for the company, said one group of seven had nixed their plans to come to Tajikistan and another group of five is having second thoughts too.   “We had a group from France and Italy. They planned to visit the Pamirs, the Fann Mountains and Panjakent. After this situation, they said that they might consider coming next year,” Guliyev said.

Another group from Germany has reportedly peppered the tour agency with questions about safety ahead of a trip to Lake Sarez.   “The Germans will probably come in the end, but we are not expecting any more bookings,” Guliyev said.

Dushanbe’s hostels are telling a similar story.  Hello Dushanbe hostel said, on condition of anonymity, that two groups of between 10 and 20 people have canceled in the last week.

Travelers already on the road have cut short their trips. Tibor Barna, who is cycling from New Zealand to his native Hungary, said he and his companion were in the Pamirs when they got news of the attack.

“When we found out what happened, we decided to take a car from Khorog to Dushanbe.  We decided not to risk it,” said Barna.