Tourists usually travel to destinations that have a good reputation or come across with good impressions. Choosing travel destinations is a complicated decision to make thus, why tourists tend to visit familiar or nearby destinations to avoid unsafe and unfamiliar environments. The impact of terrorism of the travel and tourism industry can be detrimental thus, why safety and security is given the greatest importance to tourists. Having said this the perceptions of safety and security may influence individuals’ destination choice. An analysis of tourist behaviour, travel decisions and the way tourists perceive risk is something that will be discussed below.
Keywords: Risk, Destinations, terrorism, safety, Decision making, perception, tourism
When tourist travel they are faced with many fears when they travel one being risk. Other examples are health concerns, terrorism, crime, and natural disasters (Garg, 2015). Before travelling tourists use information gathered from different places such as media, word of mouth or past reviews to form a perception of a destination. There are many factors that shape the behaviour of tourists, this often influences travel and choices of that destination. Terrorism is considered one of those risks.
According to Sonmez and Graefe (1998) tourists compare tourist destinations from benefits against cost. They explain the cost to be expenses of travelling, this includes the cost of the risk included when travelling. Thus, tourist will perceive this as an urge to search for an alternative destination, which is safe and trustworthy. Therefore if it came down to a choice but, both destinations were different with similar benefits, the less costly one and safer one likely from threat is going to be chosen. However, Swarbrooke and Horner (2007) argue against Sonmez and Graefe (1998) and say that the decision making process is much more complex than initially thought.
Existing arguments express that there are different views for safety and security for tourist choosing where to travel to. Often when tourists have previously visited a destination there is no major concern of safety or security (Rittichainuwat and Chakraborty, 2009). This could be because, the tourists has been to the destination and created a bond or connection thus, the risk decreases and the attitude toward the destination changes (Rittichainuwat and Chakraborty, 2009).
Risks and uncertainty is changing and the lines between the two are becoming blurred. Taylor and Wilson (2009) argues that the world is so big that it is hard to identify what risks are and how to overcome those risks. This reflects behind the ideas of terrorism for example how terrorism is an uncertainty and uncontrollable. Terrorism mimics unforeseen events such as tornados and floods or a hurricane, having said this when these events take place does it lessen the interest in the destinations. Many say that tourists should forget these events too place and just move on to more positive ideas surrounding the destination.
Although, moving on and forgetting seems best fit it is not that easy. Due to external factors influencing tourists though such as media and outside opinion all play a role in influencing tourist’s perceptions. The media has a very important affiliation with tourism as it has a substantial influence on the image of prospective tourist destinations and so affecting potential tourist’s destination choice (Amara, 2012). Today people live in the information age (Paletz et al., 2011). Destination image is a component that represents the push and pull thus, negative media and images often deter tourists from choosing the destination.
To conclude it is clear that a variety of outside influences affect the decision and behavior of tourists thus, it can affect the destinations. However, should a loved destination be penalized for negative information? Should tourist overlook negative attention and be judged by what it has to offer rather than the events that occur within it? Looking at the above travelers are easily persuaded to think and do certain things hence why there is a lot of uncertainty these days as to what is right or wrong. However, it is clear that terrorism is a subject that has been discussed vigorously in the tourism industry but, has made very little impact to change the industry itself.
Garg, A. (2015) Travel risks vs tourist decisions making: A tourist perceptive. International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Systems. 8 (1) 1-9
Rittichainuwat B N and G Chakraborty (2009) Perceived travel risks regarding terrorism and disease: the case of Thailand. Tourism Management 30, 410-18
Sonmez, S., and Graefe, A. (1998) Influence of terrorism risk on foreign tourism decisions. Annals of tourism research 25(1) 112-144. Available from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222502966_Influence_of_Terrorism_Risk_on_Foreign_Tourism_Decisions?enrichId=rgreq-d2cf6c2f4ad2dcc3629cf2669f5c21f2-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyMjUwMjk2NjtBUzoxMDExODM3MDAwNzg1OTZAMTQwMTEzNTQ4MzMwNA%3D%3D&el=1_x_2&_esc=publicationCoverPdf
[accessed 12th May 2017]
Taylor B. S., Wilson C. D., (2009) Managing the Threat of Terrorism in British Travel and Leisure Organizations Organization Studies; 30; 251, Published by sage