The influence of terrorism in bookings and tourist destinations

Tourist trends often get to change according to the circumstances. The instability of global economy, wars and of course other economic and geostrategic factors often play a major role in making a destination hot or not. However, there is a recurring problem which seems to have cast a heavy shadow over sunny holiday destinations and that is global terrorism.

According to the Economics and Peace Global Terrorism Index 2015, terrorism rates worldwide have increased nine-fold during the past 15 years, putting various areas in a no-fly zone and hampering booming tourist industries as one of their disastrous results. With the war raging on in the middle east and influx of terrorists on European soil, it seems that no place is left out of harm’s way.

The June 2015 attacks in Tunisia last June have left 39 killed and 39 injured according to BBC. Consequently, what once was a strong holiday contender in 2014 with over 400.000 visitors, Tunisia, is now on the no fly zone of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Similarly, an airplane bombing over Egypt last October has limited access to the Sharm el Sheikh airport, thus making bookings and prices plummet over safety concerns. This string of attacks has disabled the surrounding destinations with the home office putting Tunisia and Egypt on the no fly zone until otherwise specified. As such, the once booming industry thriving around the sandy shores of middle eastern tourist destinations shows a great decline, based on the most recent Travel Trends Report data of ABTA.

Unfortunately, the reach of terrorist forces has not left untouched the sunny coasts of Turkey either, as what once was a booming industry with over 18000 hotels and over 32 million visitors a year, has reduced by a third after 3 months in 2016, putting the country’s tourism sector through spectacular hardships due to raising concerns about bombings and other terrorist attacks. Not straying far from Europe however, one of the most visited destinations around the world, Paris, has also succumbed to terrorist pressure as the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January 2015 were topped by the recent massacre in the Bataclan theatre and bombings around Stade de France last November leaving behind a large number of casualties.

The even more recent bombings in the capital of Belgium have not left the country unaffected either, thus hampering bookings for the foreseeable future too. As such, the terrorist threat looming over Europe seems to be ever present and potentially harmful for the travel and tourist industry.

Nonetheless, no destination is affected forever as people tend to forget and peace tends to be restored. According to research by the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourist destinations tend to recover around 13 months after each attack, with booking ratings usually restored to previous numbers for one time events. In case of recurring terrorist incidents however, this rate is highly affected, thus keeping vacationers off of visiting. A notable example of this trend is again Paris where bookings plummeted after the terrorist attacks in June 2015 and those were almost restored by a mere 6 weeks according to WTTC.  This leads us to conclude that despite the hardships and dangers that travellers may face, the urge for travelling does not stop easily but simply changes directions. 

Expanding upon the facts and according to our data, this year’s bookings favour safer and sunny destinations around Europe with a notable increase of demand for long haul destinations. More specifically, bookings to Spain and Portugal have exploded, raising by a phenomenal 26% and 28% in contrast to the previous year respectively. Of all Spanish destinations however, the Canary Islands show the most promise with a total increase of 32% in bookings over the previous year. Greece and Italy have also shown a respectable bump in bookings with 9% and 18% more bookings by British travellers. Long haul destinations however have also made impressive progress, as our data shows a total increase of 9% in bookings. Consequently, the impact of terrorism on holiday destinations and bookings is apparent and the travel trends set for the following year will most likely keep shifting accordingly.  

Here at Purple Travel we take the safety of our clients very seriously by adhering to the rules of guidance offered by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office firmly. Further assistance and travel advice is always offered by our expert travel advisors, helping you book your perfect holiday while staying safe.

ABTA travel trends report 2016

Forbes Magazine



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