Tourism and terrorism

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  • Publié le : 13 octobre 2010
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The growth of international tourism in the second half of the twentieth century has lead to think that it would enhance interactions between people of different cultures, and therefore attenuate misunderstandings, leading to more tolerance and peace (Tomljenovic & Faulkner, 2001, pp. 18-19). But has international tourism really contributed to more stability in the world?The beginning of the twenty first century demonstrates that major terrorist attacks around the world have led to major crisis in the tourism industry, the 11th September attacks considered as the most significant ones, changing ‘the way the industry operates forever’ (Santana, 2004, p.299).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has defined terrorism as ‘the unlawful use of force or violenceagainst persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives’. It links to tourism in three possible ways, when it is aimed towards civilians but also hits tourists, when economic targets related to tourism are aimed, and finally when terrorism targets tourists directly (Pizam & Mansfeld, 2006, p.4).The direct consequences are very negative for the destination, impacting the tourist’s behaviour who usually cancels his trip, on the tourism industry with the retrieval of tour operators and investors, on both local and generating markets governments as well as the media coverage of the event (pp. 6-9). The media coverage is very critical, as with globalization and advances in technology, aworldwide audience is reached, therefore influencing its vision of the destination (Santana, 2004, p.305). As well as affecting this wealthy industry, mass media coverage is also a primary goal for terrorists (Llorca-Vivero, 2008, p.171).

Tourism crisis arising from terrorist attacks can therefore be very damaging for communities for which their economy depend on tourism, and in order for thedestination to maintain a positive image, the way the crisis is managed is essential to maintain its attractiveness (Santana, 2004, p. 300). Asia, and especially South East Asia, has been directly affected by terrorist attacks aiming Western tourists. By focusing on the 2002 Bali bombings, the understanding of the direct consequences are assessed, as well as the implications for it to recover.

Theisland of Bali (Indonesia) saw its tourism boom in the late 1980’s until the mid 1990’s (Hitchcock & Darma Putra, 2007, p.21). The island has always remained partly ‘apart’ and unique from the rest of the country, as despite all crisis Indonesia encountered in 1990’s and the political instability, leading to a drop in international tourists, Bali remained attractive (Henderson, 2003, p.19;Hitchcock & Darma Putra, 2007, p.22).
Foreign income generated by tourism is essential to the Balinese, but moreover, to the whole of Indonesia economy (Dewa Made Tantera & Agus Pakpahan 1990, 189-191 in Hitchcock & Darma Putra, 2007, p.23).
The 2002 Bali bombings resulted in the immediate departure of present tourists, as well as the sudden drop in daily arrivals, people deciding to cancel their tripsfor safety reasons, tour operators therefore avoiding to sell the destination (Henderson, 2003, p.19). This resulted in dramatic impacts on its economy. Indeed, the loss of revenue led to the lay off or to the cut off in working hours for employees of the hotels and tourism related industries, as well as the sale of properties, and the decrease of the multiplier effect due to slow economicactivities also led to the closure of local businesses (Hitchcock & Putra, 2007, p. 124).
The attacks, which were found to be perpetrated by an extremist Islamist group, led to affect the whole of South East Asia, where different cells are believed to be present (Henderson, 2003, p.20). Moreover, the South Eastern regions of Asia with a dominant Muslim population were negatively impacted (Mansfeld &...