Terrorism has Changed the Way We Travel


While many of us denounce terrorism and all that it stands for, it's impossible to deny that since 9/11 it has had a big impact on our lives and the way that we travel abroad. From changes to airport security that are still in place nearly 15 years since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, through to more recent events in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, terrorism has undeniably changed the way we travel.

Airplane lands at airport

Data Shows Big Changes

Data published by the Guardian shows that previously popular holiday destinations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have seen a sharp decline in the number of tourists willing to travel there, something which has become very apparent this holiday season. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has made this change very apparent, showing that Tunisia has been severely affected and British tourism to Egypt has declined 50% since their revolution back in 2011, however in between 2014 and 2015 British visitors rose by 2%, suggesting that things might return to normal , although with the recent plane crashes this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

As a result of this change there's been a noticeable shift in holidaymaker attitudes, which now favour Barbados, Mexico and Morocco as new popular destinations, showing that we're willing to travel further afield to be somewhere that is perceived to be the little bit safer. Our travel habits haven't changed too drastically, and in many respects have returned to more traditional locations such as Portugal, Italy and Spain, which have seen a slight bump in visitors following the recent terrorist attacks.

Recent Acts of Terrorism

It's understandable that people don't want to visit locations that have experienced recent terrorist activity, with Turkey falling victim to bombings as recent as April with 5 proceeding bombings taking place between October of 2015 and March. Throughout 2015 and into early 2016 Egypt experienced a spate of terrorist attacks, and in October of 2015 a Russian plane was shot down, and in May of this year EgyptAir flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean, although it's unclear at this time whether this was due to terrorism. The issue of air travel safety around Egypt has subsequently resulted in flights from the UK and several other European countries going to Sharm el-Sheikh to be put on hold . On the 26th June 2015 a mass shooting took place at Port El Kantaoui in Tunisia taking the lives of 33 British and Irish holidaymakers along with 5 others, with a further 26 British tourists injured by the attack.

How Countries Have Been Affected

Countries affected by these changes have clearly felt the effects, as the Tunisian government has urged the British foreign office to reconsider its current assessment of the country, where they claim that things have massively improved over the past year. This could be seen as an act of desperation, as their tourist trade is experiencing a 90% drop in visitors following the attacks. Although it's still not possible to fly directly to the once massively popular Sharm el-Sheikh, prestigious 5 star hotels have been sighted offering their rooms for under £20 a night, showing how low tourist destinations are willing to drop their prices to attract visitors.

Closer to home other countries are straining under the change, as anti-tourism messages of "tourists go home" and "tourists you are the terrorists" have been spotted in Spain, where although tourism is helping to bring them out of an economic slump, visitors are clogging the roads; making life for the locals very difficult. Even one of the most established holiday destinations in Europe; Ibiza, is struggling to ensure that they don't experience a drought with the extra strain placed on their utilities by foreign visitors.

Things Can Change in Time

This change likely won't last forever, and provided they don't experience another horrific terrorist attack, by next year resorts in Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt could all experience a surge of holidaymakers looking for a bargain. Our concern is that in the time that these hotels and resorts remain mostly empty, that hygiene and maintenance processes might reduce as temporary staff members aren't required during the once busy periods. This could mean that by the time things pick up, we'll witness large scale illness outbreaks at hotels that aren't prepared for the influx of visitors.

Travelling to a High Risk Country

While the Foreign Office provides foreign travel advice on places that are considered to be at risk of a terrorist attack, it's important to be aware that there are few places to travel that aren't considered at risk at the moment, even in the UK we're considered to be under a high threat of terrorism. While there are few locations throughout Europe that are considered safe, the best thing to do is to thoroughly research the destination you want to travel to, and speak to your tour operator about the level of safety before traveling.

Claiming for Injury or Illness

Regardless of where you choose to travel, provided you have booked a regulated package holiday wherein you have paid a single price for your flights, accommodation and food, you should be covered by The Package Travel Regulations 1992 (PTR). The PTR ensure that your tour operator provides everything that they are supposed to under your contract with them, and in the event that you become ill abroad through food poisoning or poor hygiene, or suffer a foreign personal injury due to an accident that wasn't your fault, you can still claim compensation, regardless of the level of the terrorism threat at the time.

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