London Reels, Rebounds From Terrorist Attack

It remains to be seen what the effect of his week’s terrorist attack in London will have on tourism worldwide. Five people were killed in the horrific incident on the iconic Westminster Bridge, including one American tourist, and several more remain in critical condition. 

However, #LondonIsOpen and #WeAreNotAfraid have been trending on Twitter and other social media since the Wednesday attack.

Despite ongoing terror threats around the world, global tourism grew by 3.3% in 2016. Destinations must continue to focus on security to ensure that their markets remain resilient, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

"England and London, specifically, are very resilient tourism destinations,” said David Scowsill, the council’s president and CEO, in a release. “We do not expect this isolated incident to have an impact on people's decision to travel to the country nor its capital. As the security forces are investigating the attack, Londoners continue with their daily lives."



Resilience is key as the impact of terrorism on tourism becomes clearer, according to a recent WTTC report.

At the macro level, terrorism has had little impact on global business and leisure travel in 2016. For the sixth year in succession, the sector’s growth outpaced that of the global economy, contributing $7.6 trillion to global GDP and supporting 1 in 10 jobs worldwide. 

The new data shows that in countries where attacks have happened, visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign visitors in a country, have suffered. The impacts of the initial attacks are compounded by inaccurate or extended travel advisories, and consumer reaction to seek perceived “safer” places for their vacations. 

In Europe, there were contractions in inbound tourism spending: Belgium (-4.4%), France (-7.3%) and Turkey (-22%) following attacks in 2016. In North Africa, tourism visitor exports declined again in 2016 (-16%). Egypt, in particular, is suffering from the impact of terrorism activity, followed by continued travel advisories. 

Inbound visitor spending continued to contract in the country, and the country’s Travel & Tourism GDP is now 50% below the 2008 peak level.

Perceived “safer” areas experienced tourism growth as a result. Within Europe, Bulgaria and Cyprus grew noticeably in 2016 (12.4% and 17.1%, respectively), with Portugal and Spain showing robust growth (4.6% and 5.2%). Emerging destinations Slovakia, Poland and Hungary also showed strong performance (13.2%, 8.6% and 6.8%, respectively). 

“People will not stop traveling, despite the security threats in the world,” Scowsill says. “Nevertheless, destinations must focus on security, as we operate in a new ‘normal’ where the constant threat of terrorism exists.” 

The WTTC is calling on governments to work on four issues when preparing for crises: Integrate private sector tourism companies into all security planning, implement electronic visas to enhance security, using biometrics and technology, create crisis response plans, which encompass a cohesive media response and increase intelligence sharing across borders, as terrorists do not respect borders.

“Governments must plan for handling crises,” Scowsill says “Travelers make decisions based on their perception of safety in a country. The reality is that the statistical likelihood of being caught in a terror attack while traveling is negligible. Travel is about exploring new cultures and doing business globally. Tourism is a force for good in the world.”

2 comments about "London Reels, Rebounds From Terrorist Attack".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Sean Hargrave from Sean Hargrave, March 24, 2017 at 9:38 a.m.

    With a weaker pound there's never been a better time to come and visit. Please don't let one misguided man of violence put you off. I'm biased, it's where I'm from, but London remains a wonderful place to explore. It's very much business as usual again over here. 

  2. Rachel Rosenfeld from NA, March 26, 2017 at 4:09 p.m.

    I found this marketing story particularly interesting because when a student thinks of marketing, often times they think of advertisements or campaigns for products or services but very rarely do people think of marketing a destination. For areas that rely on tourism, marketing a travel location can be just as important. They want to highlight their strong qualities and promote safety which can be hard to do especially after a terrorist attack in the area. The attack in London was horrific and hard to see regardless of where you were from, but as a consumer and student traveler, I agree that it would not stop me from visiting in the future. The statistics mentioned how inbound spending has in fact increased even after terrorist attacks proves that others feel the same way I do. I am curious to see what steps the government takes to prevent future attacks and help convince the public they are safe and protected. It is unfortunate that the new normal involves considering these things when deciding where to take a trip with your family or friends but with new threats will bring new waves of security. 

Next story loading loading..