This paper will critically explore terrorism and the links that it has with the tourism industry. It will discuss the impacts that terrorism inflicts on the business of tourism and tourists. Within this paper, perceptions of tourists of the risk of terrorism will be explored as this thus contributes to the tourism experience in the 21st century. Terrorism is something that the industry will continue to face and as a result, the perceived risk that tourists become accustomed to travelling will remain. This paper takes an unusual turn as it suggests positive impacts of terrorism on nations and communities that have suffered from terrorism attacks.
Keywords: Terrorism, Perceptions, international Security, Risk, Tourism, Positive.
Those that take it upon themselves to make clear their thoughts through conflicting violent on innocent people are merely a small selection of the world's population. There are conflicting definitions of terrorism but it can be defined as a politically motivated attack of violence with the use of numerous means used to carry out the act of terror (Sloboda, 2003). Terrorism poses risks to the international community and the industry, it has been increasingly threatened by terrorism in the 21st century, it is thus a risk to law and order due to its sheer size, diversity and extent of the industry itself (Arana and Leon, 2008; Henderson,2007).
Tourism provides an ideal opportunity for terrorism organisations to exploit for maximum devastation of the international community and the locals. Terrorism influences tourism in two major ways firstly, it can damage demand for a destination as it creates an impression that it is no longer safe. Secondly, the facilities that the industry uses for transportation like aircraft, trains, cruise ships and coaches are used as targets for maximum effect. These therefore are susceptible to bomb threats and hijackings (Frey et al, 2007). Even acts of terrorism that are not directed at the tourism industry still indeed, effect the tourism industry and destination selection of potential tourists to a certain area (Moss et al, 2008; Henderson, 2007). "Terrorism has evolved into a major global concern for the tourism industry" (Mansfeld and Pizam, 2006:28).
Terrorism can have lasting effects on the destination image, tourists to the area and local infrastructure. Tourists are often put off in the short/long term from travelling to destinations that have been targeted by acts of terrorism, but remains fairly situational. In the case of 9/11 (Twin towers-USA), 7/05 (Transport network-London 2005), Bail night club 2002 and a number of events in Egypt and Turkey, have all seen changes in tourism behaviours as a result of the acts of terror where the tourism industry has suffered (Lee and Lemyre, 2009; Cooper, 2008; Toh et al, 2008; Frey et al, 2007; Reisinger and Mavondo, 2006; Sonmez et al, 1999).
It recognised that the act of terrorism on the tourism industry in general, has a number of negative impacts on the industry which are of an economic, social and political nature (Frey et al, 2007; Mansfeld and Pizam, 2006). It is established that an act of terror can influence tourist behaviours through destination selection as a result of perceived risks which are thus partly characterised by destination image (Sonmez et al, 1999; Vazquez et al, 2008).
Along with the negative impacts of terrorism on tourism, there are some positive aspects of it. Acts of terror brings nations closer together to help tackle the global problem of terrorism. After a number of attempted and actual terror attacks aimed at USA have increased ties between the United States and Europe (Vazquez et al, 2008). Although it is established that acts of terror can destroy communities through creating unfortunate deaths, damaging infrastructure and causing physiological problems, there are some positive impacts. Terrorism can bring communities together and the public are then able to aid efforts as they will be on alert to look for suspicious activity. Communities are also able to pull together to create support for each other to deal with the loss of life and disruption that will be inflicted on them as a result of an act of terror on a community (Mansfeld and Pizam, 2006; Coshall, 2003). In the case of the London subway bombings in 2005, members of the community pulled together to help those that were majorly influenced by the terror attack by helping them come to terms with what had actually happened (Mansfeld and Pizam, 2006; Vazquez et al, 2008).
In summation, the tourism industry continues to be vulnerable to future acts of terrorism directly or indirectly related to the business of tourism. Today's tourism industry is clearly influenced by terrorism which can have devastating effects on the tourist and the actual destination itself. Even terror attacks that are not directed at the tourism industry still do impact on the business of tourism through perceptions. The threat of anything life threatening can happen at anytime and anywhere, tourists should not let acts of terrorism influence travel plans or indeed, future travel plans. This paper has thus outlined that although terrorism can damage a destination, infrastructure and local communities, it can also help bring nations together for a united fight again global terrorism and the imminent threat of terrorism.
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