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How did the attacks of 9/11 affect tourism?

How did the attacks of 9/11 affect tourism?
Author: Sophie Jane Richardson
2 Commentries
Do you remember where you were on September the 11th 2001?

The majority of you reading this paper will know the answer to that. Because on this frightful day the terrorist attacks in New York happened and have left a mark in history forever. This paper will see if 9/11 attacks have affected tourism and how ground zero is now a dark tourism site.

The last few decades the tourism industry has become increasingly threatened by terrorism as they have become more frequent and the extent to such attacks have become more severe and serious. Many academics like (Krackover 2005) found that 'the severer the war /terror climate the lower the international visitor demand. He also found that tourists last an average of two months in reacting to increased terror attacks. Arana and Leon (2008) showed that when terrorists events are not repeated the industry can recover in six to twelve month period it was shown that one month after September 11th absolute effects has dissolved. (Pizam and Fleischer 2002) investigated the lasting effect of tourism and those areas that have repeated terrorist attacks have a more detrimental effect on the tourism industries than those not repeated.

Media involvement also has a massive impact on the perception of safety of a country as (Henderson 2003) suggest when September 11th happened the 'fear generated was exaggerated by extensive publicity… meaning heightened perception of risk and (could) seriously damage the tourism industry in that area.' As all those involved in tourism: - hotels, travel agents etc avoid high risk areas. Arana and Leon (2008) conducted a study suggesting that impacts can be limited if 'destinations can anticipate and prevent major incidents, terror attacks, and their consequences. Joan and Henderson (2003) also suggest that 'tourism marketing and development agencies have a pivotal role in these times of crisis and must deal with the immediate consequences while deciding upon future objectives.

Dark tourism has been growing for years now but why? (Sharply 2009) suggests that 'in Western Europe we don't encounter death as it has been removed from our everyday lives so maybe we want to reconnect with death', or that death is so common in other countries we find it fascinating that we live so differently.

The nature of ground zero in regard to a dark tourism site is that of a very different of place compared with places like Robben Island and Auschwitz. They could be because the wounds from 9/11 are still raw and in years to come it will hold the same recognition as other dark tourism attractions. One would suggest that Ground Zero falls under the 'Dark Shrines' an ideology extracted from Shapley's dark tourism spectrum. These are sites 'which essentially 'trade 'on the act of remembrance and respect for the recently deceased.' Shrine, attraction or not there is still going to be an influx of people fleeing to that area of Manhattan so why not manage this amount of people properly allowing the tourism industry to thrive on this unfortunate success.

New York officials did not want to market ground zero as a tourist attraction but people visiting were doing so anyway so they had to protect Lower Manhattan from tourism traffic. To do this they need to manage tourism numbers. If people are going to visit regardless why not make the space into something beautiful where people can mourn and remember the event on that frightful day.
September the 11th is a mark in history and people for years and years and years will want to visit Ground Zero tourist attraction or not so if managing it as a tourist attraction will improve by improving infrastructure to protect the surrounding area then surely this is the best option for New York.

It is understandable the people of New York want to show peace and honour to those that lost their life but if having a public spectacle the way to do it? One would argue that September 11th attacks affected the world so the world has every right to visit Ground Zero to pay respects, but there will always be people that will disagree and feel it is insensitive to the victims' families and the citizens of New York. My view is that there will be millions of tourists visiting New York to visit Ground Zero regardless of protocol and organisations. So for further safety and protection of the New York people these tourists need to be managed. And is their really any harm in making money to put back into the broken city. It cost so much to clean up the area and recover in every way although it won't bring back those whose lives were taking at least they didn't lose their names in vein and some good has come from such a terrible day.

Boham, C. Edmonds, C. Mak, J. (2006) The Impact of 9/11 and other Terrible Global Events on Tourism in the U.S and Hawaii Economic series No. 87 East-West-Centre: Hawaii

Bianchi, R. and J. Tribe (2006) Tourism and the globalisation of fear: analysing the politics of risk and (in) security in global travel. Tourism and hospitality research 7, 1, 64-74

Pizam, A., and A. Fleischer (2002) Severity vs. frequency of acts of terrorism: which has a larger impact on tourism demand? Journal of travel research, Vol 40 pp 337-339
Commentry by Olivia Jones
Author: Olivia Jones
This discussion paper investigated the September 11th terrorist attacks and how they affected the tourism industry. It also looked at how Ground Zero has since become a dark tourism site.

The paper begins with the thought provoking question of 'do you remember where you were on September 11th 2001?' This question instantly allowed me to recite my memory of the attack and ensured that the entire paper was read with only the issue of 9/11 on my mind. Richardson then began to discuss how in recent times, the tourism industry has become threatened by terrorism. She also highlighted the time it can take a destination to recover from a terrorist attack based on the likelihood of a repeat attack. However, I believe that a clear definition of terrorism in tourism is needed to begin with. Bennett and Bray (2012) note that the correlation between tourism and terrorism is undeniable in the modern era due to the strength of the industry. Although 9/11 shook the world and will always be in the memories of people, perhaps some statistics are needed as well to allow the reader to fully understand how it impacted the world. "Almost 3000 lives were lost and more than 30 million square feet… of Lower Manhattan were damaged or destroyed" (Barm et al, 2002, p.5). The author also discusses the media involvement and the impact it has on the perceived safety of destinations. Previous studies were highlighted such as Arana and Leon (2008) where it was shown that impacts can be limited if destinations can anticipate and prevent major incidents and terror attacks. While the media may not be the most obvious choice of discussion, Richardson has used it to explain how a destination can suffer even more after an attack because of the media.

Dark tourism is also discussed and the author provides a clear and concise definition of what dark tourism is. A distinction between 'classic' dark tourism and Ground Zero is also made. The author then uses theory, Shapley's dark tourism spectrum, to examine whether Ground Zero falls under the 'Dark Shrines' ideology. Dunkley (Robinson et al, 2011) also produced a noteworthy framework that enabled the understanding of the reasons and interests of visiting shrines/dark tourist sites.

The author then investigates the pros and cons of Ground Zero. More thought provoking questions are asked regarding whether having Ground Zero as a tourism attraction is the right way to remember the thousands of people that lose their lives. The paper ends with viable recommendations that could be implemented to manage Ground Zero as a tourist attraction.

Overall, this paper met its aims and objectives and gave the reader a valuable insight into dark tourism. Concepts and theories were used to justify statements and the use of rhetorical questions was very interesting. The paper does however, in my opinion, need more statistics and needs to discuss further the effects of 9/11 on the tourism industry as a whole. There were also references such as Arana and Leon (2008) and Shapley (2009) which were not included on the reference list and took some time to uncover.


Bram, J. (2005) Tourism and New York City's Economy. Current Issues in Economics and Finance, 1(7), pp.1-6

Bennett, M. and Bray, H. (2012) The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism [online] [cited 13th May 2012] <http://esbourne.derbyshire.sch.uk/./A2%20Student%20Tourism%20Essays/>

Robinson, P., Dieke, P.U., and Heitmann, S. (2011) Research Themes for Tourism. Wallingford: CABI.
Terrorism and dark tourism
Author: Emily Dennis
The author of this discussion paper has provided some very interesting points on how 9/11 affected tourism. What was particularly interesting is how the author focused not so much on the negative impacts that arise as a result of terrorism, but how Ground Zero has been transformed into a 'dark shrine'. This has allowed tourists to pay respect to the thousands of people that lost their lives in a catastrophic attack.

This paper supports claims made by Aimable and Rossello (2009) and Blake and Sinclair (2003) who suggest over the past decade the global tourism industry has encountered many shocks making the tourism industry extremely venerable. However, the paper suggests that one month after the attack the absolute effects had dissolved, yet work by Goodrich (2002) contradicts this as demand was still down by 50% three months after the attacks. This is reinforced by the fact that 2001 saw the 'first year of negative growth in the travel business for two decades' (Tate, 2002). Fall and Massey (2005) and Ito and Lee (2005) also support Goodrich's (2002) findings as they state in some cases the negative impacts of 9/11 are still present today.

It is true what the author says about the media as it manipulates what we know and learn about the world, which in turn affected tourists' attitudes and desires to travel. The author suggests the media influence tourists' perceptions on a destination/country this has been supported by Arana and Leon's (2008) research which found destinations that had an Islamic population suffered with declining tourist arrivals as they were considered risky destinations.

Obviously terrorism has dramatic negative implications, but this paper suggests tourists are increasingly motivated to visit dark tourism sites/shrines. This shows tourists have different motivations and desires to travel. Although New York officials did not want to promote Ground Zero as a tourist attraction many tourists visiting will pay visit to the area to show respect and remember those that lost their lives. This is likely to be a continuing future trend, which like the authors says Ground Zero is likely to hold the same recognition as Auschwitz and Robben Island in years to come.

It is interesting that the author raises the question as to whether Ground Zero should be the way the public show their respect and mourn. Like the author I see no harm in making money out of the site due to the restoration costs involved. This could be a possible area for additional research to examine different perceptions as to how the victims of 9/11 could be remembered.

Overall this paper is well written and uses examples of existing literature to reinforce comments. How the author answered this question was different to the traditional route of focusing on the negative implications of 9/11. This has allowed the author to draw on some very interesting points as to how 9/11 has encouraged dark tourism. Therefore this has paper has provided a clear insight into this topic.

Reference list

Aimable, E and Rossello, J. (2009). The Short-Term Impact of 9/11 on European Airlines Demand. European Journal of Tourism Research. 2 (2) 145-161.

Altheide, D,L. (2007). The Mass Media and Terrorism. Discourse and Communication. 1 (3) 287-309.

Arana, J, E and Leon, C, J. (2008). The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism Demand. Annals of Tourism Research. 35 (2) 299-315.

Blake, A and Sinclair, T,M. (2003). Tourism Crisis Management: US Response to September 11. Annals of Tourism Research. 30 (4) 813-832.

Fall, L, T and Massey, J, E. (2005).The Significance of Crisis Communication in the Aftermath of 9/11: A National Investigation of How Tourism Managers have Re-tooled Their Promotional Campaigns. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing. 19 (2/3)77-90.

Goodrich, J,N. (2002). September 11, 2001 attack on America: A Record of the Immediate Impacts and Reactions in the USA Travel and Tourism Industry. Tourism Management. 23 (6) 573-580.

Ito, H and Lee, D. (2005). Assessing the Impacts of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks on US Airline Demand. Journal of Economics and Business. 57 (1) 75-95.

Tate, P. (2002). The Impact of 9/11: Caribbean, London and NYC Case Studies. Travel and Tourism Analyst. 5 (1) 1-25.