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Terrorism, the world alone sends chills down the spines of most people. Terrorism can come in different forms ranging from highly organized acts of violence in various places such as: The Paris and Brussels attacks, to acts committed by a Long Wolf in which there is just an individual actor who wreaks havoc amongst civilians. A terrorists’ goal is to completely disrupt behaviors of civilians so it is not uncommon that acts of terror are committed in densely populated areas. With most of the world on a perpetual high alert due to terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, we often wonder how this affects travel and more specifically tourism.
Before 9/11, tourism was one of the biggest industries and an industry that provided jobs for millions of people as well as aiding countries financially worldwide. When this massive industry came to a screeching halt after the 9/11 attacks. The effects spread well beyond the United States; exposing the vulnerabilities of countries that were way too dependent on international tourism. There have been a myriad of terroristic acts since 9/11 despite the fact that countries have beefed up their security. One of the biggest spots in which terrorists prey on are airports. The more we hear about a terror attack ranging from hijackings and bombings, to mass shootings, the less people want to go out-let alone travel to foreign countries; at least in the short term. A common misconception is that when a city is plagued by a terror attack, tourism completely diminishes. It is true that tourism has decreased pretty significantly around the world due to an increasing amount of terrorism globally, but people have very short term memories and often will forget about it because terrorism is so rampant nowadays.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, it takes around 13 months for tourism to recover after a terror attack; as opposed to a country recovering from disease (21 months) or a natural disaster (24 months). In places that are known for political or economic unrest, tourism suffers mightily. Take Egypt for example, the country has experienced political strife for over the last decade and because of that, tourism has decreased by 18.5% on a yearly basis between 2010 and 2014 according to the Office for National Statistics. One way in which countries have been able to increase tourism post 9/11 is by heavily increasing security. In Colombia, an immense increase in a military presence on highways and tourist hubs has in turn lead to an increase in tourism. People love to feel safe; especially in a foreign country.
Location also plays a huge role in tourism. According to researchgate, the more experienced a traveler was, especially in search of exotic experiences, the more likely they were to dismiss the risk of terrorism. For the United States, a developed country with one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, traveling and tourism is often a common practice. The Global Research did a study and found that Americans are nine times more likely to be killed by police than a terrorist. Though tragic are these acts of terror, we play into their hands if we live in fear from there. “To the extent we overreact to these incidents – allowing them to disrupt our economy and our way of life – we do little but increase the value to terrorists of committing them,” Nate Silver. Terrorism is here to stay (sadly), but we cannot let it completely halt our daily activities; we cannot be afraid.
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