Impact of Terrorism and Conflicts on Travel and Tourism: Negative Destination Trends
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Impact of Terrorism and Conflicts on Travel and Tourism Industry: Negative Destination Trends

By GlobalData Thematic Research 07 Sep 2021 (Last Updated September 7th, 2021 11:34)

Terrorism and conflict impact majority of operators in the travel and tourism industry from destination marketing organisations (DMO) to lodging providers.

Impact of Terrorism and Conflicts on Travel and Tourism Industry: Negative Destination Trends
Credit: Ansario/Shutterstock.com.

Listed below are the key negative destination trends impacting the travel and tourism theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Terrorism and conflict may be unmanageable in some destinations forcing companies to suspend or withdraw their operations.

Terrorism and conflict in an area often deter tourists

The panic and fear felt by prospective tourists due to a terror attack can have a detrimental impact on an area even when the threat has been addressed or no longer exists. Countries dependent on tourism could be seriously impacted with a drop in visitation. The economic benefits tourism can bring disappear instantly impacting local communities and leading to job losses if recovery does not occur quicmockly. Recovery can take many years for some countries or areas due to the negative press and widespread coverage of some conflict or terror incidents.

Reduced confidence due to the fear of an attack and result in short-term trip cancellations

Cancellations often occur immediately after a terror attack takes place or when there is a sign that conflict could occur. Tourists themselves are extremely likely to make these cancellations but it is often the operator who is the first to act. Hotels, airlines, and tour operators all constantly monitor the impact any advancing conflict may have on a destination and are ready to react should the situation dictate. Investments in specific insurance policies to mitigate against such incidences are now strongly considered by both operators and customers alike as the chances of a terror or conflict-induced cancellation have become more common in recent years.

Other destinations can experience an impact

Often a knock-on effect of an act of terror or conflict in one territory is an impact on the visitation and attractiveness of another. Neighbouring cities, regions, or countries can also fall victim and experience a decline in visitation as a result of an incident occurring nearby. Traveller confidence levels can be reduced, and travel can often be advised against when nearing the border. The increased security presence and concern also knock confidence and many countries will advise against all but essential travel near to borders of conflict areas.

Tourism landmarks may be damaged reducing the touristic appeal

Natural or manmade wonders often add to the touristic appeal of a country. Conflict and terrorism could damage them and reduce the level of interest in the destination. Some countries that have suffered the impact of war which may have inexplicitly caused substantial damage to a tourist structure or historic site. The destruction of such sites, especially if they were major pull factors for tourists, will stop the country from attracting its full potential of travellers, even after the conflict has ceased.

The global war on terrorism continues to suppress travel to countries trying to recover

The global war on terror has seen an increased international military effort to target the source of the issue by engaging in conflict on terrorism sources, which are often located in a country. Some of these countries that have become targets have managed to eliminate the majority of the conflict and concerns in the market, however, they are still a base for some terrorist headquarters. These countries may have already begun to put in motion the plans to recover from the years of conflict inflicted on the country and tourism is often a key component of that plan. The global war on terror, associated media attention, and increased security presence can still deter tourists from visiting a destination, which can delay the country’s recovery timeline.

Protests can limit travel

The prospect of widespread protests can deter tourists, especially if they become a regular occurrence. Protests can escalate very quickly turning from a peaceful event into a violent affair and if they go on for long enough, they can turn into civil unrest. Such situations mean that it is not safe for tourists to visit the area and subsequently trips will be cancelled, and visitation will decline. The impact is very small and short-term if the protests are peaceful and resolved quickly, however, if they continue and become violent, the impact can be much greater.

Luxury hotels are often a target

Luxury hotels are often seen as examples of western excess by terrorist organisations and the extensive media attention potential they could attract often result in them becoming larger targets to create the biggest impact. Many hotels located in countries perceived to have a threat of terrorism, therefore, have a high-security presence requiring vehicle, personnel, and baggage screening prior to gaining entry to the property. These steps help to reduce the likelihood of an attack as the level of security is high and it provides travellers with the reassurance that the property is taking all reasonable steps to mitigate against any risks.

Tourist hotspots have become a larger target

The widespread availability of low-cost flights and budget accommodation is making many popular tourist destinations become even more popular. Such hotspots are beginning to become larger targets for terrorists. The main characteristics of tourism hotspots are that they tend to attract an international clientele and a high number of visitors, which increases the chances of an attack occurring. Rising destinations have, therefore, become the focus of high-profile attacks.

Aircraft may have to fly longer routes due to no-fly zones

The ongoing threat of conflict and the presence of surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft has resulted in last-minute aircraft diversions to avoid certain airspace. Some countries will, therefore, restrict the operation of an aircraft registered in their country from flying through certain airspace which is deemed a risk due to conflict. This adds operational complexity for airlines as aircraft often have to fly further to bypass the airspace, adding time onto the journey, increasing fuel burn, and adding operational costs.

This is an edited extract from the Impact of Terrorism and Conflicts on Travel and Tourism Industry – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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