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The impact of tourism on tourism demand in Spain and Egypt

The impact of tourism on tourism demand in Spain and Egypt
Author: William Yick
2 Commentries
Often researchers in the past have focused their attention of terrorism on the tourism industry and the destination, yet have provided little evidence on the impact of terror events on tourists. The aim of this paper is to provide an understanding of the impacts of terrorism in Spain and Egypt and discuss whether terror attacks have affected tourist's behaviours and perceptions about these destinations.

According to Arana (2008), tourism is an industry where both demand and supply can be sensitive to extreme events such as terrorism or political violence. The absence of terror or violence is a pre-condition generally accepted for the development of destinations. However in the last decades, the world has been increasingly threatened by terrorism, and acts of violence have increased in many countries, these are mostly targeting popular destinations around the world, more importantly targeting the tourists that visit the area. Bianchi (2006) believes the reason tourist destinations and tourists are the main targets for terrorist attacks because international visitors draw media attention to local causes, also the potential for economic damage is believed to be significant. Most terrorist attacks are motivated by specific domestic grievances, for example separatist groups, solidarity groups, anti-corruption groups etc. Gilbert (2004) also suggested that many of the countries experiencing attacks are heavily dependent on international tourism for revenue and terrorist groups aim is to disrupt this by carrying out terror attacks in popular tourist destinations.

Spain has been under the threat of terrorism for a number of years; the Basque separatist group named ETA has been targeting Spain's lucrative tourism industry, there has been a list of attacks in the 20th century. In 2001, bombs exploded in Madrid airport and Alicante. In 2005, bombs explode in popular resort of Villajoyosa. In 2006, bombs explode in Madrid airport once again. In 2007, a family on holiday kidnapped; camper van stolen and blown up. In 2009, bombs explode in Majorca. These attacks have left many tourists dead and many more injured, this shows the significance ETA's intentions. In 2009, ETA has announced a new threat; to target tourists and second home owners in Basque (Henderson 2007). All these attacks have not affected international tourists arriving around the country, tourists are taking many more holidays to Spain and visitors are rising year after year. Tourists are not worried by the terror activities and feel secure around the country. A number of reasons can be given to this, one being all the attacks have been played down by the European media, tourists don't tend to hear about these attacks and these don't tend to be hugely covered in the news. Even the major attacks have not affected tourists because the direct experience they already have with Spain, research found it has one of the highest repeat customers visiting the country (Cooper 2003).

Egypt is another popular tourist destination which has been under the threat of a wave of terrorist attacks over the years. During 1992-1995, attacks targeting mostly coaches, trains and cruise vessels. In 1997, Egypt's economy was on the end of another devastating terrorist attack. In November 1997, gunmen opened fire on a group of foreign tourists who had just arrived at the Hatshepsut Temple in the desert outside Luxor. Many countries advised their nationals not to visit Egypt. Tourists left the country in their numbers and other nationals also warned tourists against travelling to the southern parts of Egypt. This also led to a number of tour operators cancelling their programmes until the turn of year and there was a massive drop in arrivals. The event itself attracted a huge amount of international exposure with a number of articles and papers commenting on the affects of the attack. Only in the last two years has the tourism industry begun to show strong signs of recovery, however in 2005, another devastating terrorist attack hit Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt leaving 88 people dead and many tourists injured. These attacks once again attracted major coverage in the European media and a sense of insecurity among foreign tourists following the attacks. Many tourists cancelled their trips and did not want to visit the country after the attack. And many researchers believe the amount of damage terrorism has to the country depends on the amount of media coverage the attacks receive (Cooper 2008), (Glaesser 2003), (Floyd 2004).

It can be said that terrorism has contrasting impacts on these two countries. Spain recovers from terrorist attacks much quicker than Egypt, the main reason being that Egypt gets a huge amount of media coverage, whereas Spain have managed to play down a number of attacks (Mack 2005).


Arana, J & C, Leon. (2008) The impact of terrorism on tourism. Annals of tourism research 35, 2, 299-315
Cooper, C. (2008) Tourism Principles and Practice, Harlow: Longman
Henderson, C, J. (2007) Tourism Crises: causes, consequences and management, Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann
Reflection on the impact on terrorism in Spain and Egypt
Author: Natalie Williamson
The main reason I have decided to comment on this post is that it links well with my post. Terrorism and tourism is a very interesting area. The summary shows that the author has identified the main aspects of terrorism and pointed out that tourism is clearly an industry where both demand and supply can be sensitive to extreme events such as terrorism (Ritcher and Waugh 1986), and how in the last decade that the world has been increasingly threatened and effected by terrorism.

The author mentioned that Spain recovers from terrorist attacks much quicker than Egypt. However, this was due to Spain investing a huge amount of money into a marketing campaign (Hall, 2002).Cooper et al (2008) mentioned that Spain had a significant increase in the amount of tourists visiting the destination. Spain was marketing the destination as a safe place after the attacks of ETA (Hall, 2002).

The author mentioned that tourists are not worried by the terror of activities and what the media portrays. However, I disagree with the point that the author has made. Looking at the The Bali bombing in October 2002, which killed 202 people (most of whom were tourists) (BBC, 2002) is an example of the role the media plays in affecting people's perceptions. The terrorists gained power as a political weapon through the mass media coverage of the event. Tourists were targeted, which had both short- and long-term effects on Bali's tourism industry. Furthermore, the persistent acts of terrorism tarnished the image, the destination's safety and attractiveness to such an extent that it jeopardised the tourism industry (Sönmez et al., 1999).

It is believed if tourists feel unsafe at a destination, they are not likely to take part in activities outside their accommodation facility. However, this is due to the fact that tourists are more vulnerable to disasters than residents as they are unfamiliar with the destination, they are unaware of hazards and they are more prone than others. Finally, a tourist who feels threatened or unsafe is not likely to return to the destination, and they are not likely to recommend the destination to others (George, 2003).

It is very clear that safety is a major factor that tourists consider when making destination choices (Sönmez, 1998). Cases from around the world show that in places where tourists perceive a potential danger from crime, terrorism or political instability, those destinations experience large decreases in overall visitation (Sönmez, 1998).

BBC (2002) Dozens killed in Bali nightclub explosion [Online]. [Last accessed 30th March 2010]. Available http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/12/newsid_2543000/2543731.stm

Cooper, C., Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D. And Wanhill, S. (2008) Tourism principles and practice. 4th Ed., London: Prentice Hall.

Georg, R. (2003) Tourist's perceptions of safety and security while visiting cape town. Tourism Management, 24(5), 575-585.

Hall, C. And Page, S. (2000) Tourism in South and Southeast Asia: issues and cases. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Richter, L and Waugh, W (1986) Tourism Politics and Political Science: A Case of Not So Benign Neglect. Annals of Tourism Research, 10(3), 313-315.

Sönmez, S. and Graefe, A. (1998). Influence of terrorism risk on foreign tourism decisions. Annals of Tourism Research, 25(1), 112-144.

Sonmez S, Apostolopoulous Y, Tarlow P (1999) Tourism in crisis: managing the effects of terrorism. Journal of Travel Research, 38(1), 13-18.
Impacts of terrorism on the tourists in Spain and Egypt
Author: Tomasz Jench
The reason why I have chosen the comment this summary is that relates to my chosen topic, besides terrorism and tourism are two very interesting paradigms, and the link between them is significant. The author of this summary shows how terrorism impacts tourism and the demand for it in particular, effected by terrorism destinations.

In your summary, you have stated that one of the major reasons for terrorist choosing the tourists as their main target was due to the fact that the tourism industry attracts huge amounts of media attention (Bianchi, 2006). I agree this statement however another major reason for this situation occurring is the fact that terrorist attack popular destinations such as Egypt or Spain as in the peak time there is a vast amount of tourist from all over the world, which makes it easier for them to mix into the crowds. This gives the terrorist the advantage as they can attack from surprise. Moreover another important factor for which the terrorist attack the tourists and popular tourism destinations is the fact that countries such as Egypt or Bali rely heavily on the income provided by the tourists, and except attracting vast amount of media attention, terrorist seek to damage a countries economy. This in some sense has been achieved, as you stated that tourist are now afraid to visit Egypt.

Moreover you mentioned that 'tourists are not worried by the terror activities and feel secure around the country (Spain). You stated that the main reason for Spain is not suffering severely from the terrorist activity due to the lack of information in European media about the attacks, however you did not mention that Spain invested vast amounts of money and effort in order to change the way people perceive the country (Hall, 2002).

Egypt felt the consequences of the terrorist attacks much more severely than Spain, due to the fact that, as you mentioned, other countries advised their citizens to avoid Egypt and choose a different destination for their vacation. Negative publicity was one of the main reasons why Egypt still suffers to attract new, potential customers. The same occurred post the attacks on Bali, were the British, American and Australian media broadcast a vast amount of 'negative' news from Bali, which created a distorted picture of the destination, which resulted in a decrease of international arrivals (Cooper et al, 2008).

Also within your summary you did not state about the positives that the terrorist attacks can bring both to the local communities and to the tourists. The main positive occurring post an attack is that the communities unite, and they often have closer relationships with each other then prior a terrorist strike. Moreover the tourist can benefit as the prices of the vacations to the affected destination decrease (Tribe, 2005).

Your peace of work was very interesting as it investigated this topic very heavily, providing the reader with a vast amount of information's.


Cooper, C., Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D. And Wanhill, S. (2008) Tourism principles and practice. 4th Ed., London: Prentice Hall.

Hall, C. And Page, S. (2000) Tourism in South and Southeast Asia: issues and cases. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Tribe, J. (2005) The economics of recreation, leisure and tourism. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.