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O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack
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O’Connor, N. Stafford, M.R. & Gallagher, G. (2009): A study of tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack

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The terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11th 2001 had a profound and immediate impact on the tourism industry world-wide. This paper sets out to review tourist travel behaviour in the event of …

The terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11th 2001 had a profound and immediate impact on the tourism industry world-wide. This paper sets out to review tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack. Primary research was conducted, by means of tourist surveys seeking information on how tourists react to terrorist attacks, aimed at revealing likely behaviours and perceptions in relation to travel, security and terrorism over time. The primary research was designed to enable comparisons with similar international research to further inform conclusions.

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  • 1. PAP168 A STUDY OF TOURIST TRAVEL BEHAVIOUR IN THE EVENT OF A TERRORIST ATTACK Ms. Mary Rose Stafford, Head of Department of Hotel, Tourism and Catering, Department of Hotel, Catering and Tourism, Institute of Technology Tralee, Dromtacker, North Campus, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Tel, + 353 61 7191664 Email, maryrose.stafford@staff.ittralee.ie Ms. Noëlle O'Connor, Senior Lecturer, Department of Humanities, School of Business and Humanities, Limerick Institute of Technology, Moylish Park, Limerick, Ireland. Tel, + 353 61 490166 Email, noelle.oconnor@lit.ie Mr. Gerry Gallagher, Senior Lecturer, Department of Business Studies, Institute of Technology Tralee, Dromtacker, North Campus, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Tel, + 353 66 7191665 Email, gerry.gallagher@staff.ittralee.ie ABSTRACT The terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11 th 2001 had a profound and immediate impact on the tourism industry world-wide. This paper sets out to review tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack. Primary research was conducted, by means of tourist surveys seeking information on how tourists react to terrorist attacks, aimed at revealing likely behaviours and perceptions in relation to travel, security and terrorism over time. The primary research was designed to enable comparisons with similar international research to further inform conclusions. KEYWORDS Tourism, terrorism, impacts, travel behaviour
  • 2. A STUDY OF TOURIST TRAVEL BEHAVIOUR IN THE EVENT OF A TERRORIST ATTACK INTRODUCTION The terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11 th 2001 had a profound and immediate impact on the tourism industry world-wide. Subsequently, there has been substantial research conducted in the area of terrorism and its impact on tourism. However, it is crucial that we continue to examine tourists’ reactions to terrorist attacks and how it may influence their travel patterns after a significant period of time. There were several objectives to be achieved through the collection and analysis of the literature review. Firstly, the researchers wished to provide a background to the study by understanding people’s motivations to travel and revealing the relationships between tourism and terrorism. Secondly, there was the need to be able to make comparisons between the researchers’ findings with existing international research, with a view to identifying similarities and/or differences over a time period. Finally, the secondary research would help identify where there was a dearth of information. This identification would allow the researchers to design and complete primary research to fill that information gap. The secondary research also informed and influenced the progression of each stage of primary research process. THE MOTIVATION TO TRAVEL Throughout history, travel, whether for comfort, religion, health or education, has been a significant element of civilisation. Brown (1998:103) comments that ‘the desire to escape everyday life long predates industrialisation and is common to most cultures – even if it has been realized in different ways’. A feature of travel throughout the ages was the importance of political stability in allowing citizens to travel. McIntosh, Goeldner, Ritchie (1995:168) note that ‘the stability of the Roman world permitted its citizens to interest themselves in some long-distant travel’, raising this issue of safety and travel in early civilisation. Travel has remained a prominent feature through the generations. Several needs can be fulfilled by travel: including the need to take a holiday; the need to get away; the need to relax; the need for sunshine; the need to explore a different culture etc. A need, according to Goodall and Ashworth (1988:2), ‘is intrinsic, an innate condition arising from a lack of something necessary to the individual’s well-being’, this implies that the travel is a necessity. Hughes (1991) cited in Brown (1998:109) comments that ‘holidays are accepted as an investment in the well-being and social fabric of the country’. He refers to Switzerland as an example where social funds subsidise or otherwise facilitate holidays for the disadvantaged again reinforcing the established need to travel. De Botton (2003) explores the motivation to travel and claims that, while we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so. The study of consumer behaviour and the travel decision making process may help us answer such questions. There are almost as many reasons to travel as there are people who travel. Motivation to travel will depend on the particular state of mind of a person at any one time, and therefore can vary drastically. Krippendorf is cited in Witt and Wright (1992:42) as having analysed eight theories of travel motivation, identifying a common thread in all theories, ‘firstly, travel is motivated by ‘going away from’ rather than ‘going towards’ something, secondly travellers’ motives and behaviour are markedly self-oriented, ‘Now I decide what is good for me’. The implication of Krippendorf’s analyses is that as tourist motivations are very self-oriented, they are subsequently difficult to define in anything other than general terms. Holloway (1998:57) states that ‘a consumer goes through a complex process in translating the need to take a holiday into the motivation to book a holiday’. Mansfeld (1992), Witt and Wright (1992), P.L. Pearce (1993), D. Pearce (1995), Knowles et al. (2004), all concur. Knowles et al. (2004:46) stress consumer behaviour in general is a complex topic, and even more so in the tourism sector, ‘whereby the desire to buy of a consumer is of emotional importance’. Holloway (1998:57) goes on to describe these motivations as ‘push’ factors (general motivation) or ‘pull’ factors (specific motivation). Push factors in essence push us into taking a holiday, including the need to get away, the need for a break etc, while Pull factors are what help us decide where to go - i.e. a particular destination attracts us to satisfy our needs. There has been much effort by government in gathering research statistics collating reasons for choosing a destination. However Holloway (1998:56) claims that this merely achieves is a labelling of tourists, and does little to help understand the actual needs the tourist sought to satisfy by travelling. The Pull factors, being researched more than the Push factors, therefore limit the understanding of motivations behind travel. There may be a reason why this is so, according to Mill and Morrison (1985:2), tourists may not feel comfortable admitting the real reason for taking a vacation, or the ‘tourists themselves may be unaware of the true reasons behind their travel behaviour’.
  • 3. This incongruence is highlighted by Mc Cabe (1997) who conducted research to understand determinants of decision-making behaviour amongst day visitors to the Peak National Park, and noted that ‘respondents constructed different responses when asked in different ways to account for their reasons for being in the park that day’ (Mc Cabe 1997:1051). This again reinforces the complexity of understanding motivation to travel. Witt and Moutinho (1989:570-1) present the basic prerequisites of mass tourism but comment that these prerequisites have neither ‘…general nor permanent validity’ but are ‘inserted in the historical, geographical, political, economic and technological environment of the time and can only be understood by taking these into account’. These prerequisites include:  A need to travel and nostalgia;  Adequate free time to satisfy this need to travel;  Adequate financial means to satisfy these travel wishes;  Adequate transport and a touristically relevant infra- and supra-structure;  The general political acceptance or even encouragement of mobility, freedom of movement, and tourism as natural society activities, i.e. the lack of basic political, administrative or other limitations (Witt and Moutinho (1989:571). Mansfeld (1992:401) emphasised that tourism motivation is generally considered the stage that triggers the whole decision process and channels it accordingly. Knowles et al., (2004:60) review a number of inadequacies in various travel motivation theories and state that the issue of motivation is extremely perplexing and relies on a number of factors including: the nature and lifestyle of the prospective tourist; their former experiences; who they are considering taking holidays with; their demographic attributes; how far in advance they book their journey. PERCEIVED RISKS IN THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS The entire tourism concept is built on the idea of people taking a break from the norm to find ways to enjoy time for themselves, be that hiking, site seeing or sun worshipping. Therefore any element of risk will be alien to the idea of enjoyment. Lepp and Gibson (2003:607-610) cite numerous authors who identified four major risk factors for tourists: Terrorism; War and Political Instability; Health Concerns and Crime. They hypothesise that ‘differences among tourists in the degree of novelty or familiarity sought on a vacation may translate into differences in the level of risk they perceive to be associated with international tourism’. Bareham (2004:160) claims that the recent economic crisis, corporate scandals, war in Iraq, increased terrorist attacks have all ‘made people concerned about security, survival, and their family’ which has resulted in a changed value set for consumers. Sonmez and Graefe (1998(a):123-124) present a model of International Tourism Decision Making Process. Their model adapts models of consumer behaviour and tourist decision making and suggests that ‘decisions are influenced by several factors as they progress through a sequence of stages’. External factors such as media coverage etc may have a potential influence on the process as will several internal factors (such as previous experience and personality type) or demographic factors (such as age, gender etc). Poon and Adams (2000) profess that ‘surveys consistently note that safety and security are important concerns among individuals vacationing abroad’ according to Lepp and Gibson (2003:606). Therefore any event that threatens this safety and security will affect the decision making process. However Lepp and Gibson in their investigation of tourist roles, perceived risk and international tourism reveal, amongst other things, that ‘more experienced tourists down played the threat of terrorism’ (Lepp and Gibson 2003: 606). Bareham (2004:162) suggests that ‘post-modern perspectives on consumption accept that consumers are much more fickle and changeable than the traditional theories of consumer behaviour claim. He refers to Thomas (1997) who claims ‘consumers have never been so unpredictable, hence consumer research is incapable of providing insights required by market decision makers’ and Carpenter, Glazer and Nakamoto (1997) who suggest that ‘buyers use different rules for different occasions’. This has serious implications for market research as Bareham suggests that ‘the consumer is not consistent in their behaviour and does not fit the stereotypes that segmentation strategies would have us believe’ (Bareham 2004:163). The implications of this are perplexing for tourism providers who seek to predict likely behaviours of tourists in times of crises. BACKGROUND TO THE IMPACTS OF TERRORISM ON TOURISM There is significant research indicating the impacts that terrorism has on tourism. According to Sonmez (1998:417), ‘the threat of danger that accompanies terrorism or political turmoil tends to intimidate potential tourists more severely’ than any natural or human-caused disaster. Lennon and O’Leary (2004:1) state
  • 4. that terrorism ‘has more affect on the travel industry than any other industry’. The reason for this may be linked to one of the basic objectives of a terrorist attack, i.e. to instil fear, as a result of which basic safety and security needs are threatened. Maslow’s theory would imply that it is not until we have satisfied the need for safety and security that we can attempt to satisfy higher needs, such as self-fulfilment, for example travel. Essner (2003: 14) states that ‘the psychological impact, though enough to disrupt tourism, seems unable to damage the economy to the point of threatening a collapse’. Fear of terrorism is irrational, according to Gilham (2001:162), because the chances of being killed as a result of terrorist activity are very small. However, the reality is that a ‘turbulent security environment has already demonstrated its negative impact on tourism development in many countries around the world’ (Mansfield 1995:109). Bruck and Wickstrom (2004:4) highlight that ‘some activities and sectors are more vulnerable to attacks than others and consequently suffer a higher burden’. This vulnerability may be due to the characteristics of services. Tourism is highly perishable and services cannot be stored and sold at another time - once the time passes the opportunity for the sale is lost. Tourism, as a service industry, will therefore experience this vulnerability in times of crisis. Bruck and Wickstrom specify that ‘Terror attacks can also change patterns of demand... reductions in demand have in particular been exhibited by transport and tourism sectors’ (2004:4). One basic aim of any terrorist activity is to communicate a message to as wide an audience as possible and targeting tourists will contribute to this aim (O’Connor, Stafford and Gallagher, 2008). According to Essner (2003:10), the multinational makeup of the 58 victims at Luxor in 1997 ensured the attack would be prominently covered internationally. The ‘media-indicator’ shows that the Luxor incident received more media reports than any of Egypt’s previous terrorist attacks, which may be attributed to the diverse nationality of the fatalities (Essner 2003:10). Aziz (1995) claims the Luxor terrorist attacks shows that ‘tourism has come to represent capitalism and conspicuous consumption and an attack on tourists signify ideological opposition to these western values’ (Lepp and Gibson 2003:607). A terrorist attack on tourists has the potential to punish capitalist ideologies and also to damage the economy, as ‘tourists vote with their feet in cases where there is a perceived threat to their safety’ (Gilham 2001:151). Richter and Waugh (1986:235) suggest that tourists may be viewed as ‘symbolic value as indirect representatives of hostile or unsympathetic governments’ and are ‘soft’ targets concentrated in ‘hotel belts’ and tourist attractions. Richter and Waugh in Medlik (1991:323-325) highlight that ‘terrorist attacks on foreign tourists are less likely to alienate popular support than would attacks on domestic targets’ and ‘as ‘foreigners’ they can be attacked without necessarily posing a threat to others in the nation’. This point is reinforced by Essner (2003:11), who states that ‘…targeting of locals would likely enrage the public, possibly resulting in retribution that places the existence of the terrorist organisation at risk’. Several studies have examined tourists’ choice of destination based on the perceived threat of terrorism and other costs - Enders and Sandler (1991), Enders et al., (1992), Aly and Strazicich (2000), Drakos and Kutan (2003), Pizman and Fleischer (2002), Blomberg et al. (2004,12). Enders and Sandler (1991) conducted a study of Spain to demonstrate that ‘a typical transnational terrorist incident is estimated as scaring away just over 140,000 tourists when all monthly impacts are combined’ (Sandler and Enders, 2004:23). Enders et al. (1992) studied a sample of European countries from 1974-88 and concluded that ‘terrorist incidents have an adverse effect on tourism revenues in Europe and that tourists substitute away from some countries to others to minimize the risk of experiencing terrorist incidents’ (Sandler and Enders, 2004:23). Aly and Strazicich (2000) examined the annual tourist night visits in Egypt and Israel to see if shocks to time paths are permanent or transitory. Their research showed that ‘following a shock, tourist visits reverts to its trend, implying that shocks have transitory effects’ (2000:8). Studies by Enders et al. (1992) and Drakos and Kutan (2003) establish and quantify terrorism-induced substitutions in tourism for Austria, Greece, Israel, Italy and Turkey. They claim that countries like Greece, which have not addressed terrorist attacks directed at foreigners, lose significant foreign-exchange earnings as a consequence. Pizam and Fleischer (2002:337-339) conducted a study on the impact of acts of terrorism on tourism demand in Israel from May 1991 to May 2001. Their hypothesis confirmed that the frequency of attacks rather than their severity caused a larger decline in international tourist arrivals. The implication is that a destination will recover from non-recurring attacks, while frequent attacks cause tourism demand to decrease. In a study by Floyd, Gibson, Pennington-Gray and Thapa (2003) the effect of perceived risk on travel intentions during the period of aftershock following September 11, 2001 was examined. The results (2003:33) suggest that ‘income, past air travel experience, perceived safety concerns and perceived social risks were the best predictors of intentions to travel (in the next 12 months) two months following the 9-11 events’. McKercher and Hui (2003:113) maintain that a terrorist related attack will only have a short-term impact on tourism, ‘terrorism … has an immediate but short duration impact on travel flows’, and they suggest that ‘events
  • 5. or lack of follow-up terrorist activity after the initial attacks has a greater effect on the return to tourism activity than the scale of the initial event’ reinforcing Pizam and Fliescher (2002). Terrorist attacks will continue to threaten the tourism industry, according to Richter and Waugh in Medlik (1991:322) ‘terrorist organisations have to be active in order to maintain interest, discipline and morale’. This remains valid 17 years later, and for this very reason we can expect them to continue, and because these attacks can occur anywhere, then nowhere is safe. A challenge for the tourism industry is to manage the crisis once such an event does occur (O’Connor, Stafford and Gallagher, 2008). METHODOLOGY The purpose of the primary research was to seek information on how tourists react to terrorist attacks to reveal likely behaviours and perceptions in relation to travel, security and terrorism. The sampling technique selected for researching overseas tourists to Ireland was a probability random sample. The sample was clustered and stratified to ensure representation of all tourist types. Clustering implies that ‘the target population is first divided into mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive sub-populations’ (Malhotra and Birks 2003:370). The form of clustering employed for this study is area sampling, a common form of clustering in which geographic areas define the clusters. In this case the geographic counties chosen were the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland as identified by Fáilte Ireland. Fáilte Ireland (2006) recorded a total of 6.7 million overseas tourists to Ireland in 2005 with the following regional distribution of Dublin (39%), Southern and Eastern (26%) and other regions (35%). A stratified random sample (see Table 1) is used to ensure representation and thus reducing the sampling error. A stratified sample according to Chisnall (2001:69) ‘occurs when a sample is specifically designed so that certain known characteristics in the population under survey are represented in certain proportions’. A stratified sample of the survey was conducted, 40% of the survey (104 surveys completed) was conducted in Dublin (representing Dublin region), 30% (78 surveys) was conducted in Cork and Kerry (representing Southern regions) and 30% (77 surveys) in Clare and Limerick (representing other regions), which are close to mirroring the regional distribution previously identified by Fáilte Ireland. Table 1 Summary of the Sample Design Target Population Overseas tourists visiting Ireland Sampling Frame Overseas tourists visiting Ireland at visitor attractions during the survey period (April 2006 to March 2007) Sampling Unit An overseas tourist Sampling Technique Random Sampling Sample Size 259 Execution Execute as per plan from April 2006 to March 2007. Validation Using various statistical tests in SPSS Version 14.0 Surveys were constructed to elicit quantitative data on tourists’ travel patterns and perceptions of travel following the September 11th attack. The questionnaire was designed to be self-administered which allowed the respondents to complete it themselves. This reduced the respondents’ answers being distorted by an interviewer (Saunders et al., 2007:357). The survey was then conducted on a pilot basis which was particularly important in this research as the survey was to be completed by non-native English speaking people. It was essential that questions were phrased in clear simple terms. The data from the pilot test was then entered into SPSS to test the recording of the data. Comments received from all parties proved helpful in this design phase and adjustments were made accordingly. One such issue raised was the manner in which tourists should be approached to discuss the topic of terrorism.
  • 6. FINDINGS The findings from the tourist surveys highlight tourists’ likely reactions to terrorist attacks, their attitudes to security mesasures observed and their atitudes and perceptions of travel which are summarised below, 1. Likely reactions to terrorist attacks  The vast majority of respondents (81.9%) claimed the frequency of their travel remainded the same following the events of Septmeber 11th 2001. 11.2% claimed they travel more often with only 6.6% reporting that they do not travel as much following the events.  The majority of respondents (31.7%) reported that following a terrorist attack in the country or city they are travelling to they would be most likely to postpone the trip. The second most likely action taken and very similar level of response,was to do the trip, 30.1%. The third most likely action was to cancel the trip 20.1% and 17.4% claimed they were likely to switch destinations.  The majority of respondents (61%) claimed they would continue their trip as planned if there was a terrorist attack in their homeland. 21.6% would be most likely to postpone the trips planned and 16% claimed they would be likely to cancel their trip.  72.2% of respondents agreed with the statement that ‘most people have realtively short memories and will resume travelling when they feel the immediate threat has passed’, less than 10% disagreed with this statement.  72.2% maintained that they would ‘rather delay travel than cancel it in the event of a terrorist attack’. 2. Attitudes to Security Mesasures observed  More thorough passport checks were reported by 49.8% of respondents as the most evident security measures observed. More thorough check of bags and presence of security were recorded at 42.5% and 41.3% respectively. 38.2% claimed that they obeserved more thorough checks of persons while only 25% reported more questioning at check in.  Clearly the majority of respondents (79%) were happy with the secuirty process while 13.5% were not happy with the process.  80% claimed the security process was about right. With 13% reporting it too lax and 7% too strict.  A total of 71.8% of respondents answered positively to the statement that ‘safety is a serious consideration when choosing a travel destination’. This is consistent with the responses in question 13 of the questionnaire where safety featured as extremely important with 27% of the repondents and very important with 42.5%.  The majority of respondents (80.3%) disagreed with the statement that’ increased security meausres were an unnecessary inconvenience’. This reinforces the answers to question 12 where 79% of respondets were happy with the security process they encountered on this trip and 71.8% claimed the process was ‘about right’.  A total of 68% responded postively to the statement that,’travel is now perceived to be safer than in the past because of increased security measures’. 3. Attitudes and Perceptions of Travel  Respondents rated Cultural Experience (37.5%) and Friendliness of People (30%) as the top two ‘extremely important’ factors when choosing a holiday. Cost of living in the tourist destination and personal safety received similar ratings at 27.8% and 27% respectively.  ‘Very important’ factors ranked as follows, friendliness (23.9%), personal safety (22.8%), and both safety of transport to the destination and cultural experience ranked 3 rd very important (both at 21.6%). Accessibility (45.9%), Safety of transport (42.9%) and Personal Safety (42.5%) ranked highest in the ‘important’ factor rating.  42% of respondents responded postitively to the statement ‘that they were more influenced by hotel and airline offers than by the threat of terrorism’. However, a relatively high number ( 37%) neither agreed nor disagreed. A number of hypothesis tests were conducted to test the statistical information gathered in the course of this research. A summary of the findings that emerged from hypotheses tests were,  The majority of tourists (70%) will change travel plans following a terrorist attack in the destination they are travelling to. However, they would prefer to postpone the trip rather than cancel or switch destinations. Almost 40% of tourists will change travel plans following a terrorist attack in their homeland. This is supported by research indicating that people associate home with safety and security and in times of uncertainty people like to be close to home (O’Connor et al 2008).  The response (travel frequency) to a terrorist attack is independent of a tourist’s booking pattern.
  • 7.  The response (travel frequency) to a terrorist attack is independent of gender. Comparison of findings with similar international research A number of comparisons with similar international research can further inform conclusions to be drawn from this research, 1. Mc Kercher and Hui (2003) Consumer surveys in Hong Kong examined travel intentions in December 2000, Oct 2001 and April/May 2002, enabling the researchers to track the immediate and medium term impacts of the 9/11 incident on out- bound tourism. Mc Kercher and Hui (2003:99-116) found that immediately after the attacks of September 11 th, close to 40% of respondents had changed their travel plans. However, most respondents preferred to change their destinations, with a smaller percentage postponing or cancelling their travel plans (See Table 2). Table 2 Change in travel plans following September 11th attacks` October 2001 April/May 2002 Mc Kercher Mc Kercher Stafford et al., and Hui (2003) and Hui (2003) (2007) Has WTC attack and economic turmoil caused you to reconsider Yes 38.8% Yes 23.9% Yes 17.8% future travel plans? (Mc Kercher and Hui, 2003) No 61.2% No 76.1% No 81.9% Has the frequency of your travel changed as a result of the events of September 11th, 2001? (Stafford et al 2007) The comparison appears to indicate that over time the memory of the attack fades and people will resume travelling. Immediately after the terrorist attacks in 2001, 38.8% of respondents anticipated that they would reconsider their travel plans, this response rate decreased to 23.9% by 2002 and again decreased to 17.8% by 2007. A second finding from Mc Kercher and Hui’s (2003:108) research was that ‘People would rather delay travel than cancel it’ (See Table 3). Tourism industry providers should be conscious of this, if they make every attempt to allow and encourage people to postpone their travel plans in times of crisis, then there will be a pent- up demand when the crisis is over. As can be seen from the table below travellers change their mind as time passes. While the exact comparison cannot be made between Mc Kercher and Hui and this current research, a pattern does emerge. Mc Kercher and Hui asked respondents what types of changes actually occurred in their travel plans, while this research asked what the travellers were likely to do. Table 3 Changes to travel plans following a terrorist attack October 2001 April/May 2002 Types of changes to travel plan Mc Kercher Mc Kercher Stafford et al., and Hui (2003) and Hui (2003) 2007 Postpone 19.2 28.9 31.7 Change destinations 22.3 36.0 17.4 Cancel 65.5 51.0 20.1 *Totals will not equal 100 as multiples response possible. This is a combination of various questions/options. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks in 2001, 65.5% of respondents said they cancelled travel. By 2002, 51% said they cancelled travel plans and by 2007 only 20.1% claimed they would cancel travel plans following a terrorist attack. 2. Chen and Noriega (2003) Chen and Noriega (2003) conducted a study to examine perceptions and attitudes of staff and students in a university toward the awareness and acceptance of security measures in travel and tourism. This research also
  • 8. examined perceptions of security process experienced and the findings are compared with Chen and Noriega’s (2003) research (See Table 4). Table 4 Comparison of security perceptions Staff and Students Tourists Chen and Noriega (2003) Stafford et al., (2007) There has been adequate security 70% and 75% 79% measures taken Airports are now safer 73% and 71% 68% Additional measures are 19% and 24% 7.3% frustrating The comparison would appear to indicate that people are content with the current security measures and over time it appears there is an acceptance of additional security measures as the norm. In 2003, 19% and 24 % of respondents found the measures frustrating while in 2007 only 7.3% found the measures ‘too strict’. An interesting difference in the results is that in 2003, 73% and 71% perceived airports as safer, while the 2007 results show that 68% believe that ‘travel’ is now safer than in the past. This may be due to the difference in phrasing, this research specifically asks about ‘airports’ while Chen and Noriega states ‘travel’ in general. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS This paper reviewed tourist travel behaviour in the event of a terrorist attack. The research undertaken included a multi-method approach, combining secondary and primary research to offer some practical findings. The secondary research explored the influence of terrorism risk on tourists’ buyer behaviour and decision processes. Primary research was conducted by means of a tourist survey (overseas tourists who visited Ireland in 2006 and 2007). The purpose of the tourist surveys was to seek information on how tourists react to terrorist attacks, to reveal likely behaviours and perceptions in relation to travel, security and terrorism over time. The primary research was designed to allow comparisons with similar international research (McKercher and Hui, 2003, Chen and Noriega, 2003) to be made. The findings show that almost 40% of tourists will change travel plans following a terrorist attack in their homeland. This is supported by research indicating that people associate home with safety and security and that in times of uncertainty people like to holiday locally (O’Connor, Stafford and Gallagher, 2008). The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 in the US exposed the vulnerabilities of the tourism industry to changes in perception as to travel safety and security. The events of September 11th and subsequent policy measures confirmed that an act of terrorism, although not a new phenomenon, may have a substantial impact on a destination. However, just as significant as the actual terrorist attack is the role of the media in reporting the event and as a result influencing public and political perceptions of the relative safety of travel and of destinations. Notwithstanding the broad recognition of the role of the media in influencing tourist, the extent to which media shapes tourism images in the context of terrorism is somewhat underrepresented in the literature. In spite of this, Hall (2002) recommended that the notion of an ‘issue attention cycle’ (Downs, 1972) could be applied to explain public policy and travel behaviour over time in the post September 11 th environment (Valentin, 2003). In the process of this research the role of the media and its influence on tourists’ travel behaviour following a terrorist attack is identified as an area that requires further research. This will be the subject of further study. The tourism industry is likely in the future to experience further crises, such as a terrorist attack, which will present challenges for the survival of the industry. The secondary research highlighted that while the need to travel is innate our ability to understand the decision making process is complex as it is influenced by a number of factors, external, internal and demographic. Sonmez and Graefe (1998) model of international tourism decision making process identifies possible reactions to terrorist attacks as continuing with travelling plans, cancelling plans, substituting destinations. This research attempts to identify to what extent tourists are likely to do each of these but also offers the option of postponing the travel which benefits the tourism providers in the destinations affected be terrorist attacks. Both the secondary and primary research conducted reinforce that terrorism does impact travel patterns but only in the short-term and that once the immediate danger has passed there will be a ‘bounce back’ and tourists would prefer to postpone travel rather than cancel it if given
  • 9. the choice. The findings also highlighted that tourists were happy with the increased security measures at airports despite the inconvenience caused. A terrorist attack is a sudden unpredictable event that results in catastrophic reactions over which the tourism industry has little control. A crisis such as this has a low probability but a high impact and the results ensuing can destroy, restore or renew a tourism system. A number of themes have emerged from the research conducted that contribute to understanding the impacts of and required response to a terrorist attack in the tourism industry. Tourists would prefer to postpone travel rather than cancel it if given the choice. From the survey conducted there is a significant pattern in the response to the question – ‘In the case of a terrorist attack in the country you are travelling to would you be more likely to postpone, cancel, switch destinations of do the trip?’ 70% of the respondents would not continue with the planned trip. This has serious consequences for a tourism destination following a terrorist attack, and therefore industry members must permit travellers to make changes, rebook and reschedule. In addition, it may be of benefit to waive blackout dates, and minimum stay requirements, offer fare cuts and loyalty programmes - whatever measures it takes to ensure that business is not lost. Postponing the trip is the most likely action taken (31.7% of respondents). If industry members can remain flexible and facilitate the postponement of the trip, there will be a pent-up demand and a ‘bounce-back’ effect when the immediate threat has passed. REFERENCES Aly, H. and Strazicich, M. (2000) Terrorism and Tourism, Is the Impact Permanent of Transitory, Ohio State University, Department of Economics. Aziz H (1995) ‘Understanding attacks on tourists in Egypt’, Tourism Management, vol.16, no.2, pp. 91-95. Bareham, J. R. (2004) ‘Can consumers be predicted or are they unmanageable’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol.16, no. 3, pp.159-165. Blomberg, S., Hess, G. and Orphanides, A. (2004) The Macroeconomic Consequences of Terrorism, CESifo Working Paper No.1151. Brown, F. (1998) Tourism Reassessed, Blight or Blessing, Butterworth-Heinemann. Bruck, T. and Wickstrom, B. (2004) The Economic Consequences of Terror, European Journal of Political Economy, HiCN, University of Sussex. Chen, R. And Noriega, P. (2003) ‘The impacts of terrorism, Perceptions of faculty and students on safety and security in tourism’, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, vol.15, no.2/3/4/, pp. 81-98. Chisnall, P. (2001) Marketing Research, 6th Edition, Berkshire, McGraw-Hill. De Botton, A. (2003) The Art of Travel, London, Penguin Books. Downs, A. (1972), Up and down with ecology - the issue attention cycle, The Public Interest, vol.28, pp.38-50. Drakos, K. and Kutan, A. (2003) ‘Regional effects of terrorism on Tourism’, Journal of Conflict Reslution, vol 47, no. 5, pp. 621-641 Enders, W. and Sandler, T. (1991) ‘Causality between Transnational Terrorism and Tourism, The Case of Spain’, Terrorism, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 49-58. Enders, W. and Sanlder, T. (1992) ‘An economic analysis of the impact of terrorism on tourism’, Kyklos Internationale Zeitschrift fur Sozialwissenschafi, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 521-554. Essner, J. (2003) ‘Terrorism's impact on tourism, What the industry may learn from Egypt’s Struggle with al- Gama’a al-Islamiya’, IPS 668 – Security and Development, Dec 2003. Failte Ireland (2006), Visitor Facts and Figures 2006, Dublin Floyd, M.F., Gibson, H., Pennington-Gray, L., Thapa, B. (2003) ‘The effect of risk perceptions on intentions to travel in the aftermath of September 11, 2001’, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing vol. 15, no. 2/3/4, pp. 19-38. Gilham, R. (ed) (2001) Tourism and the Media, Australia, Hospitality Press Pty Ltd Goodall, B. (1988) ‘How tourists choose their holidays, An Analytical Framework’, in Goodall and Ashworth, Marketing in the tourism Industry, London. Hall, C.M. (2002). Travel safety, terrorism and the media: the significance of the issue-attention cycle, Current Issues in Tourism, vol.5, no.5, pp. 458-466. Holloway, C.J. (1998) The Business of Tourism, 5th edition, Harlow, Longman. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, vol. 15, no. 2/3/4, pp. 99-116. Knowles, T., Diamantis, D., El-Mourhabi, J.B. (2004) The Globalization of Tourism and Hospitality, 2nd edition, London, Thomson Learning. Krippendorf, J. (1987) The Holiday Makers, Understanding the impact of leisure and travel, London, Butterworth-Heinemann.
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