2017: Towards equal tourism participation and inclusive working environments: access, security and wellbeing  >  The politics of tourism securitisation: citizens, tourists and terrorists


How has the terrorist attack in Nice affected the tourist numbers?

Written by: Andersen, Henrik

University: Lincoln


This discussion paper focuses on how the tourist numbers in Nice have decreased after the 2016 terror attack, and further investigate which security strategy is most appropriate to adopt in Nice. Moreover, the argument for this conference is the bearing of how security theatre is the most appropriate security strategy to increase tourist numbers in Nice.

Keywords: Nice, Terror Attack, Tourist Numbers, Security Framework, Security Theatre, Risk Management.

Discussion paper:

14 July 2016, the city of Nice was exposed for a terror attack, when 86 people was killed and over 400 injured when a cargo truck drove into a crowd of individuals at the waterfront in the city. In aftermath there was a decrease in tourist numbers arriving Nice, and statistics shows that there was a significant 21% drop in visitors arriving by air carriers to Nice region, hotel visitation had a drop on 11% (Cotedazur, 2016). And a 57 % drop in International flights from a global perspective (Patel, Bloomberg, 7 August 2016). Nowadays Nice has developed a surveillance protection program that detects any un-normal behaviour in Nice, since 2008 France has used two different security frameworks in RAID that is a term for two police units placed around France, and the second framework is Central Domestic Intelligence Directorate. In addition these security frameworks have been a decline, and a survey provided from experts shows that after the 14 July 2016 terror attack 67% of the France citizens feel unsafe from French security (Chassany, 2016).

In the academic literature two different security frameworks in security theatre and risk management will be presented and investigated for further proposition in the case of Nice. Furthermore according to Kline (2007) security theatre appears as an efficient method, but are in reality a highly flawed strategy which makes tourist and locals feel safe and secure. There are weaknesses of security theatre as Mueller and Stewart (2011) indicates the security theatre in New York is the most pointless security in a global scale, as the police are being placed around all metro entrances viewing millions of people with parcels and bags going to the transport system. In addition this is called misguiding of security theatre, but a more positive result of security theatre is shown in Adeloye and Brown, (2017) example of London, were 12 percent drop in tourist numbers after 7/7 bombings, but over time the tourist number increased vitally. After 7/7 2005 bombings Scotland Yard provided knowledge of security theatre and has developed the capabilities of the best counter terrorism globally.

The other security framework presented is risk management, moreover risk management is a framework which is prioritising risks, and overlook the less severe threats (Ericson, 2006). Furthermore, risk management is allocation the right resources only to the most serious terror attack threat (Zack, 2007). Additionally there are weaknesses for risk management as the resources provided is of uncertainty and left unattended, another example is risk management could affect innocent communities and individuals privacy. Also, as this security framework is providing information to analyse risk and identification to eliminate the threating risk to companies (Ericson, 2006).

In discussion of this conference, Zack (2007) argues, risk management is reckoning a disaster of terrorism and decide which threat needs to be allocated resources. Schneier (2009) argues that in reality security theatre is not real security, but used correctly it can provide a feeling of secure environment that could match real security. Besides, Ericson (2006) disagree with Zack (2007 as risk management is more business related and has too much uncertainty in decision making.

Additionally as security theatre is more destination based and correctly used could match real security, this framework would be a strong consideration for Nice to apply. Furthermore, as London`s example of correctly used security theatre shows an increase in tourist numbers Garrison and Levinson (2014) disagrees with Adeloye and Brown (2017) as there is no evidence of security theatre making a difference when providing tourists with an impression of improvement in security. Zedner (2009) disagrees as if the perception of threat is larger than the threat itself, security theatre has a positive perspective on insecurity and legitimate concerns, and implement reassurance and be a solution. Other experts recommend a promotion strategy to attract more tourist as this has positive results in increasing tourist numbers, this has been efficient for destinations such as Northern Ireland.

In recommendations and conclusion for the case of Nice, correctly used security theatre could match real security and the London example above provided from Adeyole and Brown (2017) shows that with well-placed security theatre, a drop in visitation numbers could be increased over time. The final recommendations would essentially be the use of security theatre, promotion strategies and the security framework of I1 surveillance intelligence as a mixed strategy.

Reference list:
Adeloye, D. & Brown, L. (2017). Terrorism and domestic tourist risk perceptions. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change. Routledge, Abington, United Kingdom, pp.1-17.

Mueller, J. & Stewart, M. (2011). Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security. Business & Economic. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 148

Schneier, B. (2009). Beyond security theatre: we need to move beyond security measures that look good on television to those that actually work, argues Bruce Schneier. Counterterrorism security. New Internationalist, Oxford, United Kingdom, (427) pp.10-13.

Securitisation of Nice, France.

Written by: Hiltunen, Joel

University: Lincoln

I chose this conference paper to give a commentary, because I am interested in the securitisation of Nice and how it would impact its tourism. As I have written a conference paper on a same subject I feel compelled to give my contribution on this paper as well.

Nice is France’s second largest tourist destination after Paris, which is why the terrorist attack could have caused serious damage for the tourism industry in France. However, since France is politically stable country, the impact on tourism is not as great as it would be in less politically stable countries like Egypt. Boujbel (2016) noted that instability of the state has direct and indirect negative effects on the tourism industry. Direct effects being the choices tourists make for their pick of destination and duration of the visit. Indirect effects are the image of the destination as well as its development and maintenance of infrastructure (Boujbel, 2016). This is why France as a politically stable country has no big effects on tourism industry from terrorist attacks.

As for using security theatre for the securitisation framework of Nice, I would like to point out that this is not a long term solution. Nice is a tourism hotspot for France and if there is added security presence, according to Mann (2011) it might backlash in the long run, when tourists get more scared of the security measures rather than feel more secure (Mann, 2011). This is why the security theatre in order to work properly in a tourism destination should be do more discretely, as tourists are more concerned of the instability of a destination.

An option for security theatre could be to focus resources on risk management, as the author rightly mentions in his paper. By focusing the resources on the terrorists while they are still planning their attack is more secure way of counter terrorism, than maybe catching them in the last minute by a security guard (Mann, 2011). A great framework for focusing the resources on right areas of security would be the ‘Risk based decision support framework’, that is suggested by Stewart and Mueller (2012). This is crucial tool for securitisation as it focuses on preventing terrorist attacks ever happening. On how to know where to focus the resources on, there should be quantification of risk analysis to be done, in order to find the right areas to focus the resources and therefore minimise the risk of a terrorist attack (Stewart and Mueller, 2012).

Reference list

Boujbel. L, (2016) Tourism et terrorisme: Miser sur L’image du pay’s. Revue Francaise du Marketing. 256, 25-40.

Mann. C, (2011) Smoke Screening. Vanity Fair. Available from: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2011/12/tsa-insanity-201112 [Accessed 9 May 2017].

Stewart. M, Mueller. J, (2012) Terror, Security, and money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Critical Infrastructure Protection. 5th International Conference on Reliable Engineering Computing.