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How terrorism affects tourism?

How terrorism affects tourism?
Author: Kamila Skwiercz
2 Commentries

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.

How terrorism affects tourism?
Author: Charlotte Turton
Kamila, your paper was an interesting read and you have shown a real strength by drawing on existing research. The reason I chose your paper was due to the fact it had a similarity to my own in terms of how terrorism can affect peoples travel and the impact of how the media plays a role as well as the length of time a destination can be regarded as safe again.

The discussion paper begins with highlighting how broad terrorism is and how complex this subject is. I liked the way you brought forward that people see terrorism differently not only as a "criminal act" but a "fight for freedom". This relates to my paper where terrorists attack tourists to gain wide media coverage, which in a way shows their feelings! (Lepp. 2003: 607) You have mentioned that the association between terrorism and tourism started around the 1980's but there were attacks beforehand, for example at the Munich Games in 1972. So although the relationship increased in the 1980's the relationship still remained beforehand. (Pizam, 2000, Page: 124)

I agree with your statement that terrorists decrease the image of a tourist destination due to the perceived risk of travelling there. It can depend on the severity of the attack to how long the period of recovery is for that specific destination. The way you have drawn examples from Egypt, London and Madrid was really interesting to see. It shows that you have looked into existing research well to notice that people perceive London as "safe" due to the terrorist attack being on the transport and Egypt being a "risk" due to previous attacks being on the tourists. You have shown that it not only depends on how severe the terrorist attack is but to who the terrorist attack is on. This point stood out but brought me to think about 9/11. This attack was directed on the transportation system and the demand for air travel suffered, so I think you could have included this example to discuss further.

Near the end of the paper you mention that perceived risk is one of the most significant factors in the decision making process. I agree entirely with this and safety seemed to be an important factor in my primary research as people make their travel decision based on perceived rather than actual risks. (Rittichainuwat, 2009, page: 411) This could be due to the role the media can play in the decision making process. As you have mentioned the media can play a huge part and to some extent can escalate the problem, making the perceived risk increase. This could impact upon the image of the destination as well, and could prolong the risk of remaining at that specific destination. So not only can the media try to promote an affected destination, as mentioned in your discussion they can also exaggerate a risk forming a negative image too. (Rittichainuwat, 2009, page: 411)

Overall your paper answered your question well showing that perceived risk is an important factor in the tourists decision to travel and can be affected by the role the media can play positively and negatively and that its not only the scale of the attack that can display a destination as "unsafe" but also who the attack is on. A great piece Kamila!


Pizam, A, (2000), Tourism and terrorism: a quantitative analysis of major terrorist acts and their impact on tourism destinations, Tourism Economics, 6 (2), pp. 123-138

Rittichainuwat, B & Chakraborty, G, (2009), Perceived travel risks regarding terrorism and disease: The case of Thailand, Tourism Management, 30, pp. 410-418

Lepp, A & Gibson, H, (2003), TOURIST ROLES, PERCEIVED RISK
AND INTERNATIONAL TOURISM, Annals of Tourism Research, 30 (3), pp. 606-624

How terrorism affects tourism?
Author: Gulden Gozuacik
I have chosen this paper because it deals with the similar areas on my research paper and its nicely discusses the effects of terrorism on tourism.

You have mentioned that tourists become the main target, why was this? I found in the literature that the one of the reasons are tourists become targets because tourism actually can be used as a weapon against government for terrorists, so getting attention across the nations to get the their views on what they want, and its usually based on political, religious and cultural aspects that the reasons terrorist may attack. Basically tourism is a good way for them to use against the nations so this way they get their point across (Neumayer 2004).
Also terrorism activities are usually mentioned in the media such as television, newspapers, internet, this is another reasons why attacking tourist, this way would send messages to the media and to the public all over the world so this is why tourists themselves became their main targets (Neumayer 2004).

You have also talked about the positive effects of media to help destination images of a country such as after on 9/11 and the bombings in London, which I agree with but media is the first tool that gives a bad image to the country as well, because media is the fastest information network that lets people know about crises like terrorism attacks in a country and repeated constantly on the news doesn't help the images of the countries but that's only another way of looking at the impacts, as impacts can be both negative and positive(Rittichainuwat, Chakraborty 2009).
For example if a place is on the media such as news reports that is affected as a perceived risks the consumer may cancel flights bookings, change their minds as the consumer feels the risk are high and not safe enough travel so changes the attitude towards the place(Rittichainuwat, Chakraborty 2009).
Looking at this positively like media can be used a tool to reimage and recover the destination/ country by strong advertising in the media.(Neumayer 2004).

You have mentioned 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, this is true an deals with the same area as my discussion paper.
Many of the travellers decision is usually based on perception of the risk instead of the actual risk facts and this can have negative influence for the traveller's behaviour towards the destination and this is why tourists may avoid travelling, if perceived as risky destination. (Rittichainuwat, Chakraborty 2009).

The literature findings is that tourism only will recover if the consumers forgets about the negative image of the places and the events that happened about a destination, But of course the recovery for the destination is depending on the media coverage and how negative was the destination portrayed in the media as this might make the destination image hard to recover from been a risky destination to a safe dentitions to travel (Neumayer 2004).

Terrorism impact on tourism can last more than six months or even longer after the attacks. For example September 11 had a major negative effect on tourism many industries such as theme parks airlines hotels had major decline and many cancelations after terrorist attacks(Pizama, Fleischer,2002). This has had a major claps on the economy in the US and world wide as well as many had lost their jobs.

It interesting to mentioned that Some countries or destination can actually benefit from an neighbour courtiers that had been attack of an event of terrorism, as its might be seen as an alternative for the neighboured countries on tourism benefits, as long as it has not been effected and not negatively advertised in the media(Neumayer 2004). A good example such as Turkey had been portrayed safe for tourist to visit as an alternative Middle Eastern destination even though the neighbours of Turkey such as places like Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon had been in many conflicts and acts of terrorism (Neumayer 2004)

Overall I found some similarities to my discussion paper and you have nicely demonstrated what the effects of terrorism on tourism, and concentrated on how tourism can recover with given good examples of the impact that courses tourism, I believe there are too many aspects of this area can be researched, but it's defiantly pleasant to read your paper as its similar area of research.

Neumayer E (2004), The Impact of Political Violence on Tourism: Dynamic Cross-National Estimation Journal of Conflict Resolution 48; 259. Published by sage

Pizama A.,Fleischer A., (2002) Severity versus Frequency of Acts of Terrorism: Which Has a Larger Impact on Tourism Demand, Journal of Travel Research; 40; 337 Published by sage

Rittichainuwat B N and G Chakraborty (2009) Perceived travel risks regarding terrorism and disease: the case of Thailand. Tourism Management 30, 410-18