The travel, tourism and hospitality industry is among the largest global industries and constitutes businesses such as airlines, restaurants, cruise ships, entertainment and amusement venues, attraction sites and hotels. The travel, tourism, and hospitality are three interconnected sectors that operate interdependently. Tourists travel to tourist attractions using various modes of transport. During their stay, tourists get accommodation, entertainment, comfort, and security at hospitality establishments. Different tourism resources are accessed using different means including aircraft, bus, cable cars, cuisines or railway. Failure of one sector has the potential to cause failure to the rest of the sectors. As observed globally, lately, terrorism has been on the rise. Several militia groups are operating in different regions of the globe. However, most terror groups seem to pledge their allegiance to one main terror group. ISIS is the most dangerous terror group that has threatened most countries in the world. Different cities have experienced terror attacks from this group. When terror groups attack a country, a lot of damages in different industrial sectors are experienced. Damages caused include destruction of property and infrastructure, bad publicity, psychological damages such as fear, depression among others. Travel, tourism, and hospitality suffer greatly from terrorism. This paper will illustrate the impacts of terrorism on travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
Recently, different regions of the world have experienced terror attacks from different terror groups. However, the travel, tourism and hospitality industry seems to grow regardless of the increasing terror threats all around the world. Many people are traveling for various reasons including business, education, health, and vacations. Globalization has led to increased business expansion across borders, and human resources are outsourced from all over the globe to provide the required skills and expertise. Students are traveling to different destinations in search of a higher education in internationally recognized learning institutions. Patients from developing countries travel to developed countries in search of medication. Other people with disposable income are traveling for excursions and site seeing in other countries. As a result, there is an increased flow of people across borders promoting the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
Lately, it is becoming obvious that recreational, entertainment and other public areas such as shopping centers are not immune from terror attacks. Travel, tourism, and hospitality are at high risk of terrorist activities since they are soft targets and tourists are highly vulnerable. The terrorists may opt to attack soft targets where they dont have to deal with tight security measures such as embassies. Soft targets such as hotels, restaurants, bus terminus, airlines, and entertainment venues among others are instituting first class security measures. The challenge in dealing with terrorism in travel, tourism and hospitality industry is that some guests could be terrorist themselves and it might be difficult to find out.
Terrorist attacks occur in different forms which include bombing, kidnapping, hijacking, suicidal operations, shootings and attacks on commercial shipping and aircraft. Such attacks use unlawful and threatening force and violence against tourist, human resources working in the tourism industry, tourism resources and the overall members of the society. Usually, terrorism attacks aim at intimidating or coercing the government or certain group of people. The reasons behind terrorist attacks are political, ideological or religious objectives that terrorist or terror groups seeks to achieve. Terror attacks generate fear amongst the victims making it easy for the terrorist to manipulate and control their behavior. Terror attacks are designed to cause mass casualties, damage the reputation of a destination, sabotage the economy of the destination and destroy an icon. In travel, tourism and hospitality industry, the services providers have the mandate to provide security to tourist.
Bombings by terrorists destroy travel, tourism and hospitality infrastructures. Travel infrastructures include airplanes, cruise ships, trains, vehicles, airports, roads, railway among others. Tourism infrastructure includes tourist attraction sites, recreation and leisure destinations. Hospitality infrastructures include accommodation facilities such as hotel establishments; and entertainment facilities. When such attacks occur in a nation, it influences the travelers mentality, and thus they shy off visiting such destinations. Most terror attacks target travel, tourism or hospitality establishments to damage the reputation of the destination. As a result, service providers are forced to invest in security to assure tourists and employees of their safety. Service providers will include the security expenses in the tourist package price making the cost of traveling higher than usual. When terrorism goes to the extreme and becomes unmanageable, it leads to complete closure of travel, tourism and hospitality businesses. At times, some countries issue travel advisories and travel bans to countries experiencing terrorism threats and attacks. In terrorism-prone destinations, residents face travel restrictions outside their countries. Visa acquisitions requirements are increased to keep off people from terrorism-prone destinations from crossing borders. Since terrorism aims at causing mass casualties, terror attacks will lead to massive deaths of employees in the tourism industry. Terror groups target tourism destinations and other public areas such as shopping malls, bus, and rail terminus.
Terrorism has significantly shaped the travel tourism and hospitality industry in many ways. For example, new destinations are emerging as an alternative to previously existing destinations that have become prone to terrorism. Travellers are opting to new destinations where they feel safer and secure. New tourism products are evolving from the traditional tourism products. For example, technological advancement has led to the emergence of new tourism products such as virtual tourism. Tourists are opting for virtual tourism rather than traveling to risky destinations.
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