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