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The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: Implications for Homeland Security: 

The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: Implications for Homeland Security Bernard J. McCarthy Missouri State University

The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: Implications for Homeland Security: 

The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: Implications for Homeland Security

Target Selection: 

Target Selection If you want to know their targets, look at what they are saying, writing and doing. On a number of occasions, tourist venues have been identified as targets. See the Jihadist manual and various fatwas! In selecting targets, low risk high impact targets are sought.

Tourism and Terror: 

Tourism and Terror Tourism is a world wide industry that is sensitive to fluctuations in crime, terrorism, natural disasters and economic forces. A maxim in the Tourism Industry: Tourists go where they are safe and avoid risk. This maxim also applies to investors!

An Overview of Tourism: 

An Overview of Tourism In 2006, travel and tourism is expected to generate an estimated $6.5 trillion in economic activity. It is considered the fourth largest market share of all industries. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that over 214.7 million jobs are dependent on Travel & Tourism, or 8.1 per cent of world employment. Many countries rely on tourist dollars to support their national economies.

Some Aspects of Tourism: 

Some Aspects of Tourism Travel is voluntary and travel risks or perceived threats to safety result in plans being altered. Tourists perceptions are just as important as actual victimization. Tourists do not need to be directly targeted for them to be deterred from traveling. Tourists and their money go where they believe they will be safe. Perceptions are greatly effected by the media.

Impact of September 11 : 

Impact of September 11 One of the industries most effected by the Suicide attacks was the tourism industry. In the US Tourism is a $900 billion enterprise. Attacks were directed at New York City and Washington DC but had a world wide impact. This industry continues to remain vulnerable and is a prime target.

Immediate Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: September 11 : 

Immediate Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: September 11 Changes in US Sales Third Quarter 2001 Traveler accommodations -25.6 Passenger air transportation -43.3 All other transportation -17. 0 Recreation and entertainment -5.8 Shopping (Retailers) -5.2 Food services and drinking places+6.2

The Bad News: 

The Bad News September 11 changed how and where US citizens traveled and spent their money. In September travel overseas by US citizens declined 30%, largest change was to Middle East and Europe. October travel declined 28% November travel declined 20% December 5% Overall End of the year data indicated a 6 % decline from 2000. Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries Analysis of the US citizen Outbound market

The Good News: 

The Good News By 2003, most sectors had recovered except for foreign tourists visiting the US.

Objectives of Targeting Tourists: 

Objectives of Targeting Tourists Soft target to attack, very vulnerable, low risk. High visibility from a media point of view, attacks gain widespread publicity for a cause, the bigger the attack the better Certain national governments will be destabilized by attacks undermining national economies Terrorists may seek retribution by using tourists as a convenient target.

Tourists as Targets: 

Tourists as Targets Travelers can be directly targeted Tourists may stumble into local conflicts and become a convenient target Tourists may be viewed as symbolic representatives of a larger target that is more difficult to reach Tourism may be an unintended target


The TKB data base reports the average number of fatalities per attack was the highest for this category 5.1 fatalities per incident for tourists 4.02 fatalities per incident for businesses 3.37 fatalities per incident for military

Recent Attacks: 

Recent Attacks Recent attacks specifically against Tourists in Egypt Madrid Bali Kenya Thailand 28 coordinated bombings Feb 18

Bali Bombing (500+Casualties): 

Bali Bombing (500+Casualties)

Bali Bombing: 

Bali Bombing

Madrid Train Station Bombing: 

Madrid Train Station Bombing

Richard Clarke’s Scenario : 

Richard Clarke’s Scenario In the Atlantic Monthly | January/February 2005, former National Security Advisor Richard Clarke’s published and article   Ten Years Later "Then the second wave of al-Qaeda attacks hit America." A leading expert on counterterrorism imagines the future history of the war on terror. A frightening picture of a country still at war in 2011 The target: Tourism venues


Clarke predicted several waves of attacks. The first against casinos with backpacks and Winnebago's. Later theme parks and shopping malls just before Christmas, followed by suicide bombers and IED’s against the transportation systems in major metropolitan areas, Finally attacks against chemical plants…. The impact cripples the economy of the US.

Strategic Implications: 

Strategic Implications Strategy of terror is to have the maximum impact with low risk. Tourism is highly vulnerable and has high visibility and media attention. Damage ratio is high for tourist targets Will more terrorists groups discover tourists as “targets”?

Terrorists Economic Strategy: 

Terrorists Economic Strategy Create mass fear and hysteria Cripple industries serving tourists. Create mass unemployment in service sectors. Deter visitors and their funds from being expended in the host country. Discourage investors/multinational corporations from investing in tourism in a particular locale.

The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism: 

The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism Terrorism is a tool of the weak against the strong Tourists are soft targets and are vulnerable to attacks. Majority of suicide bomber attacks in Israel are against tourist venues. Impact is widespread and may have dire economic consequences

How Vulnerable is the US? : 

How Vulnerable is the US? Jihadists have called for attacks against tourism sites. Terrorists choose soft targets (unprotected) with low risk. Tourism must be open and inviting. The nature of the business lends itself to being exploited. Freedoms in US permit Terror groups to proliferate and arm themselves. A recent study reported groups could gain unlimited access to automatic weapons and explosive materials in the US. 6 million tons of ammonium nitrate produced each and is readily available.

Complacency Setting In?: 

Complacency Setting In? A Cornell survey of the US Hospitality Industry found that most hotels made few if any changes in their safety and security arrangements in the two years following the tragic events of September 11. A reinsurance survey found only the financial services industry was insuring itself against financial losses due to terrorism.

Trends in Terrorism: 

Trends in Terrorism Some trends occurring in Terrorism has implications of the tourist industry. Changing structure of terrorist groups “al-Qaida associated movement” of like-minded groups Use of suicide bombers/vehicle bombs Ready Availability of bombmaking ingredients from Mother of Satan (Hydrogen peroxide) to ammonium nitrate. Use of multiple coordinated attacks Complacency on the part of the industry.


conclusion Terror groups view the tourism industry as a soft target with multiple entry points. Need to study prior terror attacks at the industry and figure out ways to reduce the opportunities. Easiest approach is the design method. Ensuring the safety and security of tourists is vital to the tourism industry and national economy. Research shows sustained terror attacks has a significant impact on tourism receipts. Periodic terror attacks have minimal impact and the markets rebound fairly rapidly when the industry responds with marketing and pricing

Where do we go from here?: 

Where do we go from here? The industry needs to recognize the dimensions of the problem. Private sector has to be brought into terrorism prevention initiatives. Partnerships must be built and nurtured.

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