Tourists Risk Linked with Terrorism

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Various researchers agree with the fact that terrorists have a lot to gain by targeting both the local and international tourists. Terrorists have realized the political and economic importance of international tourism and, therefore, are taking the advantage to punish the government and society as a whole. Terrorism can cause a crisis in tourism. This paper analyzes the impacts terrorism has on tourism and goes ahead to discuss the incidences of terrorism for better understanding. The paper also examines how the media can catalyze the act of terrorism. Tourists risk perception linked with terrorism served as the foundation for the study.

Keywords: Terrorism, Tourism, Mass-Hysteria, Media, Culture of Fear


My sincerest gratitude is extended to my advisor, Mr. Gregory T. Root, who provided guidance and a lot of support to me. I am thankful for the energy and time he spent helping me. He kept me on the track throughout this dissertation process. Similarly, I am indebted to Mr. Gerald Klingler, my co-advisor for his contributions to this dissertation. Words cannot express how grateful I am to Mr. Gregory T. Root and Mr. Gerald Klingler for their patience, which motivated me to stay focus and achieve my goal.

Special thanks also go to my friends and fellow colleagues who have inspired me and provided me with the support I needed in this long journey.

My family has played a significant role in the completion of this study. I am lucky to have caring siblings, and I thank them for the support and love they have always shown me. Im extremely thankful for my parents who have constantly expressed encouragement when I required it.


I declare that the content of this project is my original work and has not been presented in KIM or any other learning institution for an academic or professional award.

Whenever secondary information has been used, relevant citing techniques have been employed to affirm the origin and the author.

1.0 Introduction

Tourism is one of the worlds fastest leading and growing industry. It is even becoming globally popular because of the technology advancements and improvement in infrastructure (Baker, 2014). Tourism industry influences nearly all industries. It is essential to understand better tourism industry in order to overcome hiccups and other impediments to make it a more profitable industry. Tourism is the most vulnerable and sensitive industry and, therefore, is one of the most affected industries by terrorism since it disrupts air travels extensively within the area in which it occurs. The improper management of tourism industry has huge impacts and consequences to the other economic sectors (David Weaver, 2014). International tourism or travel is an important contributor to growth and development of the economy, with a global increase in the arrivals of international tourists overtaking national income growth every year for the last three decades. The growth continues, about one billion tourists have toured the world in 2012, creating a new record for the sector of international tourism, which accounts for 30% of the global services exports and one in every 12 jobs (Theobald, 2005).

Terrorism is not new since it has a long old history like the humans' willingness to apply force or violence against the civilian people to achieve social or political ends. The impact of terrorism on tourism is very enormous. It might lead to deflation, homelessness, unemployment, and many other economic and ills. The tourism contribution for various countries is so great that any recession in the industry is a cause of concern for all the governments. The implications are left in many other industries related to tourism, such as, airlines, shops, restaurants, and hotels, which cater to tourists and associated services. Terrorism is a compelling and an enigmatic phenomenon, and its link with tourism is multifaceted or complex. This paper tries to clarify this relationship and studies the relationship between tourists decision-making practice for destination choice and the various factors influencing such decisions.

1.1 Definitions & Terms1.1.1 TourismEven though defining tourism might be a bit challenging since it has different meanings for various people, we have been "tourists" at one point or another in our lives. According to Mathieson and Wall (1982), tourism is the non-permanent movement of individuals to destinations outside their usual residence and places of work, the activities carried out during their stay in those destinations, and the facilities created to satisfy their needs. It is also defined as the activities of people traveling to and staying in places outside their normal environment for no more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes (WTO, 1995).

1.1.2 TerrorismPremeditated, politically driven violence perpetrated against civilian targets by clandestine agents or sub-national groups, normally premeditated to influence an audience (Whittaker, 2004). It is also defined as the unlawful use of violence or force against people or property to coerce or intimidate non-combatants, a government, or any segment thereof, in the perpetuation of religious, social or political objectives (Whittaker, 2004).

1.1.3 Mass Hysteria

Mass hysteria is also known as collective delusion. According to Wen-Shing Tseng and Jin Hsu, mass hysteria is a psychological or sociocultural phenomenon wherein a group of individuals through social fraud, collectively show psychological disorders within a short period of time (Dewey & Ries, 2005).

1.1.4 The Culture of FearThe culture of fear refers to a perceived prevalence of anxiety and fear in relationships and public discourse, and how this can influence the way people interact and associate with each other as individuals or as democratic agents (Glassner, 2010).

2.0 Terrorist IncidencesTerrorism is a common issue in the todays society with most of the countries being a hotbed of terror attacks. The act of terrorism is increasing at an alarming rate, and it is rapidly evolving as a result of the increased number of terrorists and terrorist groups as well as the increase in the amount of resources, which they are able to acquire. The recent Global Terrorism Index revealed that religious extremism is currently the major driver of terrorism. The report noted 18,000 deaths in 2013, an increase of about 60% compared to the previous year. Most of these increase were attributable to only four groups: Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Isis (Islamic State) in Syria and Iraq, the al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan. Generally, there has been a fivefold rise in deaths from terrorism after the 9/11 suicide attacks in the United States. Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Nigeria, and Afghanistan accounts for more than 80% of the casualty and deaths from the terrorist attacks in 2013.

Some examples of the terrorism prevalence include the Boston Marathon bombing in the USA on April 15, 2013, and the Domodedovo Airport bombing in Russia on January 24th, 2011. Similarly, in Africa, a number of such attacks are prevalent, for instance, the Al-Shabaab militant slaying 147 students in Garissa University in Kenya. The Boko Haram of Nigeria also kidnapped over three hundred school girls. The application of terrorism to foster a political cause has escalated in the recent years. Modern terrorism to a great extent existed after the World War II with the emergence of the anti-colonial movements. These early nationalist movements realized the capability of terrorism to both influence global policy and to generate publicity for the trigger. The tendency of these groups to mobilize support and sympathy outside the narrow restricts of their real theaters of operation therefore gave a powerful teaching to similarly aggrieved individuals somewhere else, who now saw in terrorism an efficient way of changing local conflicts to international issues (Hoffman, 2006). This development cleared the way for international terrorism around the 1960s. The 21st Century has come with an increase in the prevalence of failing and failed nations, and an equally notable rise in international and domestic terrorism acts. The current challenge is for the international community to embrace a common approach of treating terrorist acts as an international crime. (See table 1 below)

Figure 1


There has been a significant increase in terrorism for the past one and a half decades. The first recorded incidence of terrorism within this time frame applying weapons of mass destruction like nuclear, chemical, and biological occurred in 1995. This attack, well documented as the sarin gas attack, happened in Japan injuring 5,550 rush-hour commuters as well as killing 12 people (Sonmez, 1998). The terrorist acts normally inflict fear into the public and result in a change in usual travel behavior as a result of the natural human response to fear (Baker & Coulter, 2007). From 1969 to 2009, there were a lot of terrorist attacks around the world. About 38,345 incidents were noticed out of them 2,981 attacks, which is 7.8 percent were of the attacks were targeting the United States, whereas 35,364 (92.2 percent) were targeting other nations of the world (RAND, 2011).

Figure 2

Source: Calculations by the Heritage Foundations Center for Data Analysis based on data from the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents, at

About 5,600 individuals lost their lives, and over 16,300 persons suffered serious injuries as a result of international terrorism aimed at the United States. Terrorism has resulted in a number of casualties and losses even though various countries are struggling to ensure such practices are stopped.

Figure 3

Source: US Department of S...

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