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The life in an uncertain world - What happens after an attack?

The life in an uncertain world - What happens after an attack?
Author: Stephan Dahlheim
1 Commentries
The life in an uncertain world - What happens after an attack?

Terrorism does not know boarders. Attacks happen worldwide and their driving forces are religious, political, economical and social motivations - organized and realized by local and global acting groups. But in fact, local groups like the ETA in Spain, Fatah and Hamas in Israel plan much more attacks as for example, al-Qaida. The only problem is that al-Qaida attacks draw much more media attention because of their dimensions and victim numbers and therefore, we remember their attacks better than those by local groups. For several weeks did the media cover the September 11 attacks and the metro bombings in London 2005, while several attacks in Spain by the ETA, were not even mentioned. In terms of tourism is terrorism a growing threat, because many groups attack tourists in order to receive attention in the media, which they need to show local problems or disparities to the public.

If attacks happen in tourist destinations, many studies have shown that the process of recovery does not take that long, approx. 1 to 3 years. Depending on the attack and the time, the destinations need to rebuild resorts and other tourist attractions. Therefore, we have to find out what strategies help in order to speed up the recovery process or at least to crate that stage as efficient as possible. In the following, two case studies of Bali and New York will show what helped these destinations and how they tried to respond, because increasing airport security rules cannot be the only solution in order to get back tourists.

September 11 was the worst terrorist attack that ever took place. Within a few hours thousands of people were killed. Nobody expected that an attack of such a dimension could ever happen, that is why neither New York City nor the government of the United States of America had applicable preparations or strategies to react to such an attack. The number of international visitors rapidly declined after the attacks, while the number of domestic visitors increased, but nevertheless did it influence the economic development of the tourism industry. As response to these attacks, the United States of America adopted two major policies - the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 and the Homeland Security Act in 2002. Because of the USA Patriot Act, which was very controversial, passport requirement increased, intelligence fields of action got increased, the exchange of information increased especially in terms of personal details, that the USA want about incoming travelers. With the Homeland Security Act did the government create the US Department of Homeland Security. They imposed every major US city to develop plans what they do, if another attack or unpredictable event takes place. The focus of these plans was how they would evacuate and secure not just the city, but also particular areas, where lots of people are every day.

Contrary to that attack, were the Bali bombings in 2002, since that attack was planned and organized by a local group acting in Southeast Asia. It was totally focused on killing one particular group of people, because of the 202 people that were killed were 38 Indonesian citizens and the rest were people from all over the world - tourists. Like in New York City, the local Indonesian authorities had no plans on how to react to such attacks. The number of visitors to Bali declined for the next two years in comparison to 2002. To realize various policies, the Indonesian government received help from the World Bank, USAid and the US government. They increased their intelligence activities in order to prevent further attacks, advertisement campaigns for their target markets and security personal in the affected regions. But nevertheless, these actions helped to get tourists back to Bali although they were not as broad as the policies of the United States of America.

These two examples show us that prevention, preparedness and the process of recovery are important points in order to respond to attacks as well as an increase of security actions, which have a positive impact on tourists and their process of decision making when they decide for a holiday destination. As mentioned in the beginning, terrorism does not know boarders and that is why we reason and thereby recommend that these actions should be an integral part for the planning of every country, not just to be prepared, but also to handle the situation correct and to decrease the consequences of such an attack. This is especially important for developing countries, since their biggest source of revenue is in most cases tourism, but because of the fact that they do not have that much security, they are easy targets for every terrorist group.


Gurtner, Y. (2004) After the Bali Bombing - the long road to recovery. The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 19 (4), 56-66

O'Connor, N., Stafford, M. R., Gallagher, G. (2006) A chronological review of the tourism industry's reactions to terrorist attacks, using Bali (2002), London (2005), Madrid (2004) and New York (2001) as case studies. [online]. Available from: http://pc.parnu.ee/~htooman/EuroChrie/Welcome%20to%20EuroCHRIE%20Dubai%202008/papers/A%20chronological%20review%20of%20the%20tourism%20industry.pdf [Accessed on: 19 April 2012]

Tucker, D. (2001) What's New About the New Terrorism and How Dangerous is it?. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 13 (Autumn 2001), 1-14
Commentary on: The life in an uncertain world - What happens after an attack? by Danielle Wright
Author: Danielle A. Wright
The life in an uncertain world - What happens after an attack?

Commentary by: Danielle Wright

The introduction suggests that the following will be investigates: "their driving forces are religious, political, economical and social motivations" but only the religious. political and social motivations were tackled throughout the discussion; with the mention of groups such as al-Qaida and the brief mention of groups attacking tourist destinations to receive attention of the media to broadcast local problems that local people are facing within particular destinations.

An error has been made in the discussion by the author stating that the ETA attacks in Spain were mot mentioned in the media. In an actual fact there has been news coverage on the ETA attacks in Spain which led to travel chaos due to the closure of ports and airports (News, 2009). Although the author has made this mistake, they have made a vital point throughput the discussion that terrorism does lead to disruption of tourists, hence resulting in a loss of tourists visits to a destination which has recently experienced a terrorist attack.

The discussion shows two case studies, one on New York and one on Bali, which is good as it shows a diverse range of destinations which have experienced terrorist attacks. The author states that they will show the recovery process of these two destinations, which he does well showing knowledge of the subject and evidence of reading literature. He mentions the USA Patriot Act 2001 and the Security Act 2002 and explains that these acts were put in place to enhance security to prevent future attacks. He mentions the Patriot Act 2001 was controversial, but fails to mention to whom and why. It would have been clearer if this was expanded on further.

Some statistics have been used in the discussion which shows the devastation of the terrorist attacks mentioned. He shows that terrorist attacks are not always aimed at the destination but at the actual tourists that are visiting the area. This theory is backed by Chris Cooper in the book Tourism: Principles and Practise (2008).

Whilst the discussion enhances the readers knowledge of the affects terrorism has on the security and safety of a destination if fails to mention how the affect of the lack of tourist visits to a destination following a tourist attack creates social and economical issues. As a suggestion this could be investigated further to create a further understanding of a range of affects a terrorist attack has on a destination and how these are dealt with in the recovery process.

There are issues with grammar and spelling throughout the discussion which could be improved upon in order to create a more professional presentation of the work.

Overall the author shows a good level of knowledge about terrorism and how destinations deal with the recovery process after the devastation has been caused. The case studies used were useful in showing how security measures have been put in place by the government in order to prevent future attacks. The author has show that they have read further information on the subject and have shown theories about the causes of terrorist attack which are backed by other tourism authors. The only considerations the author could use to enhance their discussion paper is to look at the social and economical affects which occur after a terrorist attack as this will show a wider range of what happens after an attack as suggested in the introduction.


Cooper, C. (2008). Tourism: Principles and Practise. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

News, B. (2009, July 30). Travel chaos after Majorca bomb . Retrieved May 15, 2012, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8176601.stm