Written by: Lappalainen, Jenny
This conference paper has been made to understand the impacts of terrorism on tourism destinations and tourists. This conference paper provided a case study from one of the most memorable terrorist attacks in the world. This conference paper outlined how several studies has shown how the attack in New York in 2001 changed the desire to travel.
Key words: Terrorism, Tourism destination, 9/11.
We live in a society, where tourism changes every day. This wonderful activity is made for everyone to be able to get to know new cultures and see the world and enjoy their time away from home. Over the past few decades, this has, unfortunately, become more like a dream instead of reality. Bonham, Edmonds and Mak (2006) have outlined in their journal how tourism sector is sometimes viewed as fragile industry in that demand for travel is very prediposed to numerous shocks such as terrorism, constantly changing economical course, currency instability, energy crisis, outbreaks of deadly contagious diseases, wars and so on.
Tourism destinations and tourists are often a target for terrorists. Tourists are seen as ambassadors of their countries which makes them an easy target when the motivation behind the attack is to get noticed around the world. After a terrorist attack, a destination that used to be desired one can turn to be avoided one just in seconds. Terrorists (people with extremist beliefs and attitudes to act violent) have a major impact on the destination but it also affects the whole country and the neighboring countries. Terrorism has said to have negative impacts towards the locals and tourists as well (Radulescu, 2016). Most of the tourists, consider safety in the destination to be the most important factor, so when tourists do not feel safe, they will change their destination. Tourism sector is one of the biggest industries in the whole world, employing millions of people across the wold and being the biggest income for several countries (Paul, Georgeta, Eugenia, 2015, Albu, 2015). Tourism sector is highly affected by terrorism and this has had tragical results on countrie’s economies. Sudden drops in tourism flows can cause bankruptcy for firms on the tourism sector and this will automatically cause job lose. The attack in New York in 2001 affected on tourism employment as direct uemployment, tourism industry fell by almost 5% between 2000 and 2004 (Bonham, Edmonds, Mak, 2006). It has been said, that firms to be able to survive such horror, they need to be able to adapt (Vergne and Depeyre, 2016).
Terror attacks have major negative impacts on domestic and international travel. Surprisingly, the 9/11 had a bigger negative impact on United States citizen to fly from the country than to international tourists to visit United States. International tourism flows to United States, dropped only by 1 million between 2001 and 2002 (Bonham, Edmonds, Mak, 2006). When again more than 7 million United States citizen cancelled their flights to abroad after the 9/11 (Bonham, Edmonds, Mak, 2006). 2001 attack has argued to have bigger damage on global tourism than any other economic sector (Alan, 2003). Domestic travel became far more popular around the world than what it was before the attack. People were scared to fly so visiting neighbour countries or travelling inside their own country was seen to be safer option.
Staats, Panek and Cosmar conducted an interview in 2004 about travel attitudes after the 9/11. The survey found out how fear towards travelling started to fade away few years after the 9/11. Only small percentage showed negative attitudes towards travelling and tourism destinations. There was notable differences in the interviews that had been collected straight after the attack compared to ones collected few years after the 9/11. New York’s attack did not only create fear in there, it also affected people around the world. Tourists were saying that they felt more vulnerable to crime than locals (George, 2003). 2001 attack did not only had an influence on New York, it also affected the destinations which were popular among United States tourists.
It has been almost 16 years since the horror in New York, but people around the world do get reminded about it all time because it has been seen as the “beginning” for the terror attack in the 21st century. The attack came as a shock for everyone and it took several years for the New York to be able to recover from it. Hundreds of attacks have occurred since then. Finally in 2014 the city was able to reach the tourism flow number it was before the attack. New York has turn its horror into a “victory” as the city attracts more tourists now than ever before. Memorial museum for 9/11 has said to be receiving millions of visitors and there is now guide tours around the lower Manhattan which are daily events for tourists (Poladian, 2015).
Bonham, C., Edmonds, C., Mak, J. (2006) The Impact of 9/11 ND Other Terrible Global Events on Tourism in the United States and Hawaii. 45;1, 3-7.
Radulescu, I. (2016) Terrorism and its Impact on Global Economy. 5;2, 87-94.
Staats, S., Panek, P., Cosmar, D. (2006) Predicting Travel Attitudes Among Faculty After 9/11. 140;2, 121-132.
I chose this paper to write a commentary on because I am interested in the impacts terrorism has on the tourism industry. I have already written about the impacts on terrorism on tourist’s perceptions of destinations thus, it was interesting to write of the opposite side of the story.
Tourism needs various components to be able to facility the needs to the tourists thus, why there needs to be political stability, peace and security. However, terrorism creates instability and uncertainty in the industry and is a constant threat. Being a dynamic and competitive industry that requires the ability to constantly adapt to customers changing needs and desires. This also affects the outcomes of the customer’s satisfaction, safety and enjoyment which hence reflects the tourism industry.
It is said that crimes and acts of terrorism committed have very bad effects such as by damaging the destination or city image and instilling fear in potential tourists. Stafford et al., (2002) state that the effects of terrorist attacks might cause political instability, which leads to the decline or disappearance of tourist arrivals in some tourist destinations. This in turn will affect the tourist destinations overall economic status and often can cause a decline.
Some may argue that we live in a secular post-modern age where we are bombarded with information and lack the ability to place terrorist events into their historical context. However, Foucault (1991), explains further and says we live in a postmodern age of chaos where life defies rational thought. As a result, people cannot judge the real risk associated with tourism. Overall, this shows a new form of experience for travelers in which there is a positive element to risk where tourists want to experience “danger” from terrorism (Giddens and Pierson, 1998; Foucault, 1991).
Drawing from the above September 11, 2001 terror attacks had an immediate and substantial impact on worldwide travel. The attacks pushed tourists to seek a replacement away from air travel generally and caused a shift in the preferences of travelers for destinations. The United States experienced a drop-in arrival of international visitors, particularly from those flying in from overseas.
Although damage is done from terrorist attacks in the initial stages Coshall (2003) found that the highly attractive destinations for UK travelers experience rapid recovery in the aftermath of a crisis. To rebuild and regain the tourist’s destinations competitive edge the tourist industry must conduct a recovery and crises management which sometimes can be costly. Media coverage of terrorism or political confusion has the potential to shape tourist’s images of destinations. It is argued that a symbiotic relationship exists between terrorists and journalists and that terrorism is both a symbolic event and a performance that is staged for the benefit of media attention (Weimann and Winn 1994).
Overall, terrorism is an unforeseen event that cannot be known when or where or even how it will take place so the industry must always be aware of such occurrence. The continuous and rapid growth of tourism only invites more and more danger therefore it is important that more attention is made on risk management. This discussion is good and it highlights all the necessary points and consequently exposes improved management for the future.
Coshall, J.T. (2003) The threat of terrorism as an intervention on international travel flows. Journal of Travel Research 42 (1) 4-12.
Giddens, A., and Pierson, C. (1998) Conversations with Giddens: making sense of modernity: Stanford University Press
Foucault, M. (1991) Governmentality. In Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon & Peter Miller. The Foucault effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Weimann, G., & Winn, C. (1994) The Theater of Terror: Mass Media and International Terrorism. White Plains: Longman.