The most well known manmade disasters are wars such as the Gulf War in 1991 and terrorist attacks such as 9/11 in 2001 and the attack on the London transport network in 2005. It is important to consider what impacts these disasters can have upon a destination, therefore this paper will look at the effects of terrorism in the tourism industry and whether or not destinations have been able to recover and if they have then how have they done this.
Many of the attacks mentioned may not directly be associated with the tourism industry but they involved certain aspects of the tourism industry, such as the attacks in 2001 in New York where a passenger aircrafts were used as the weapon. Prior to the September 11th 2001 attacks on the twin towers in New York, tourist arrivals for the year 2000 stood at 36.2 million visitors with 6.8 million being international visitors and the remaining 29.4 million being domestic visitors. Also for the year 2000 hotel occupancy levels were at a high of 86.4% and the total number of flights at New York airports amounting to 1.2 million for the year. (NYC & Company, 2012). Furthermore according to NYC & Company in Bierman (2003) it is suggested that the economic impact of tourism in New York City was US$24.96 billion.
The terrorist attacks which took place on September 11th 2001 then had a major impact upon not only New York but the USA as a whole. News of the attacks spread worldwide and this impacted the tourism industry. Bierman (2003) states that the impact on the USA airline industry was swift and devastating, as shortly after the attacks American Airlines cut its scheduled flights by 20 percent and removed around 20,000 jobs. In addition to this by November 2001 just two months after the attacks the USA airline industry had shed around 116,000 jobs. The impact of the attacks was felt worldwide with Air Canada having a loss of 20,000 jobs and British Airways cut 15 percent of their flights along with cutting 7,000 jobs. (Bierman, 2003)
Despite hotels reducing their room rates hotel occupancy fell in 2002 along with the tourist numbers. For the year 2002 occupancy levels were at 75.6% in comparison to the year 2000 where it stood at 84.6%. (NYC & Company, 2012)
The United States however faced a marketing crisis as unlike other countries lacked a centralised tourism marketing authority, the likes of which destinations such as the United Kingdom and Turkey possessed (Bierman, 2003). Despite these restrictions it was vital that the USA and more specifically New York took some sort of action and implemented at least one of the strategies developed by Avraham and Ketter (2007).
The implementation of the strategies suggested by Avraham and Ketter (2007) and the use of the correcting marketing tools certainly seemed to work as come 2003/2004 tourist arrivals once again began to rise with the majority of the tourists being domestic.
Over time however New York was able to restore its image and security as in 2010 saw tourist arrivals reach a ten year high with 48.8 million visitors of which 39.1 million were domestic - a figure greater than the number of tourists arrivals for both domestic and international in 2000 which stood at 36.2 million in total (NYC & Company, 2012)
In conclusion 9/11 has shown clearly that it is possible to bounce back from the events and it's possible for the destination to be rejuvenated. This however is only possible if the correct methods and strategies are implemented, this is where the strategies developed by Avraham and Ketter (2007) play a major part. By following the strategies and conducting the right forms of marketing as done by New York, in this instance a destination can reach levels prior to the crisis, furthermore New York now has more tourist arrivals compared to pre 9/11.
Beirman, D. (2003) Restoring Tourism Destinations in Crisis: A Strategic Marketing Approach. Oxon: CABI.
Cooper, C., Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D. and Wanhill, S. (2005) Tourism Principles and Practice. 4th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
NYC & Company (2012) [Online] NYC Statistics. (No Date) http://www.nycgo.com/articles/nyc-statistics-page [Cited 22.04.2012].