This paper examines the influences that terrorism has on the tourism industry. Furthermore it introduces case studies of countries affected by terrorist attacks.
Terrorism is a very complex phenomenon, and it is hard to bring forward one definition. Both terrorism and tourism are highly connected with each other, this occurs for a number of reasons. Moreover there is a huge amount of terrorism types, the most common ones are Individual, Organizational, National and International, they are mainly differentiated by their field of practice. Terrorist attacks can be perceived in many ways: For some people, terrorism will be a criminal act but to others, it can be recognized in this light as a fight for freedom (Pizam, 1999).
As it has been mentioned the phenomenon of tourism is often linked to terrorism. According to Küçükaltan (2006) the terrorist organizations started to direct their attacks on the tourism industry in the 1980's and since that date the tourists themselves became their main target.
Terrorism impacts many fields which are closely related to tourism. First significant impact is connected with image of the destination and the media. According to Hall and Page (2000) media significantly influence the image of a country. It is worth mentioning the attacks on 9/11 and the bombings in London where the media encouraged tourists to visit those places after the bombings. An effective PR campaign saved the destinations images and rescued those countries from losing tourists (Cole,2008).
Sonmez et al (1999) states that terrorism often causes the decrease of image and as a consequence tourism crisis can occur. One of the main goals for the terrorists is to destroy the image of the given place. A very famous case of a terrorist attack which had a significant influence on the image of a destination is Bali. Even though a huge financial outlay for advertising was made, the recovery of the destination lasted almost two years. The image of the destinations was also affected by unfavourable opinions of the travel advisers and media from USA, UK and Australia which were discouraging their residents to travel to this destination. Their critical estimations made Bali's process of recovery a lot harder (Business Asia, 2005).
A major impact recognized with regards to terrorist attacks is the fact of increasing costs of advertising, to rub out the memory of an attack and create a new perfect image of a safe and beautiful place. This situation can be positive for tourists as the prices of holidays will decrease (Cooper et al,2008).
Another factor which influences tourism is the willingness of visiting a particular place after a terrorist attack. According to Biju (2006) tourism arrivals are severely reduced because of the perceived threat of secondary bombings. Cooper et al (2008) states that not every destination suffers in the same way, for instance Egypt, in which the terrorists aimed their attacks at the tourists, suffered from a rapid decrease in international tourists arrivals. This caused serious implications on Egypt, as the country suffered much more severely than UK or Spain, even though the attack was of a much smaller scale than in those countries (Spain, UK). This occurred as people avoid places that are perceived as of high risk. Bombings in Madrid and London were pointed at the transportation infrastructure rather than within international tourists; this according to Cooper et al (2008) is one of the factors that influenced the level of tourism arrivals, moreover this had implications on people's perception of London and Madrid, namely tourists still perceive those cities to be of high safety standards.
One of the main negatives coming out of terrorism is that the costs increase for the local government, especially the expenditure in terms of the security and safety of tourists. This step is essential as if tourists will assume that country can be danger for them they will not be willing to visit this destination ever again (Tribe, 2005).
Perceived risk is one of the most significant factors in the process of decision making in terms of either going or not to a particular destination. Ryan (2002) introduces Maslow`s hierarchy of needs, where safety and security is the second most important factor in the motivation pyramid introduced by Maslow. Tourists who will distinguish risk in the holiday destination, most likely will not visit that location as their basic needs of safety and security will not be fulfilled.
As mentioned before also media play a huge role in establishing the risk, the escalation of the problem will cause an artificial increase of the risk. Cooper et al (2008) underlines that perceived risk is often shaped unreal by tourist, but at the same time this illusory perception is a main factor in the process of decision making.
Terrorist attacks in September 2001 completely changed the perception of risk; from now on terrorism became one of the biggest issues of the tourism industry and one of the biggest fears of the tourists (Cooper et al, 2008). Terrorism influences tourism and tourists individually, there is a lot of factors which impact this situation such as media, scale of the attack and the target of terrorists.
Cooper, C., Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D. And Wanhill, S. (2008) Tourism principles and practice. 4th ed., London: Prentice Hall.
Küçükaltan, D. (2006) Tourism and Terrorism: An Experience of Turkey and the World. iUniverse.
Tribe, J. (2005) The economics of recreation, leisure and tourism. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.