Susceptibilities of the Tourism Industry. The Effect of Terrorism on commercial Surf Tourism

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

50 Pages, Grade: 2.1


Table of Conteทts

Literature Review


1. Introduction

2. Methodology

3. Results

4. Discussion

5. Conclusion

6. Limitations and Future Research



Appendix 1: Blank Questionnaire
Appendix 2: Ethical Review
Appendix 3: Risk Assessment


The tourism industry has significant repercussions in regards to economic value to destinations worldwide but is susceptible to external shocks such as terrorism as tourist numbers follow terroristic activity causing economic damage to destinations beyond managerial control. Surf tourism is of growing economic, social and environmental value to destinations in Indonesia due to the region’s abundance of high quality waves and resulting attractiveness to surfers however, it is a region frequented by terrorist activity. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of terrorism on commercial surf tourism as a sub segment of the global tourism industry. Data was obtained using a survey consisting of 5 closed ended questions assessing IAO variables of traveling surfers regarding the perception of terrorism as a risk influencing destination choice and travel plans. 42 usable responses were collected over a three-month period from January 7th to March 28th 2016. Results of the statistical analysis suggest that surfers demonstrate a different behaviour in comparison to other tourists and have a low perception of terrorism as a risk influencing destination choice. In fact, from the data and statistical analysis it appears that the significant reliance on the quality of waves at a destination outweighs the risk of terrorism as an influence on destination choice, therefore accepting the tested hypothesis, which stated that surf tourists do not perceive terrorism as a high risk influencing destination choice or travel plans. Suggestions for future research include a replication of this study using a larger sample size and changes to the design of the questionnaire in order to improve upon limitations and further investigate conspicuous findings of this study as well as potential links to the field of behavioural psychology.

Table of Figures

Figure 1 : Surf holiday destinations associated with terrorism

Figure 2: Pivotal criteria for destination choice

Figure 3: Effect of past acts of terrorism on destination choice

Figure 4: Effect of acts of terrorism within last 6 months on travel plans

Figure 5: Flow long before considering visiting a destination after an attack

Literature Review

Susceptibilities of the Tourism Industry: The Effects of Terrorism on commercial Surf Tourism


While remaining ล niche sport, the increase in popularity and participation numbers in the sport of surfing provides a growing socioeconomic value of the sport to global economies (Wagner et al. 2011; Canniford, 2005; Lazarów, 2007; O’Brien et al. 2013). To the บ.ร. alone the sport of surfing is estimated to contribute an annual economic impact ranging from $2 billion to $5 billion (Wagner et al. 2011 ).

Surf tourism, as a segment of the sport and adventure tourism branch, which represents a large subset of the global tourism industry, is rapidly expanding as the result of the sport’s increase in popularity (Barbieri et al. 2013; Martin et al. 2013). The sport and adventure tourism segment entails international travel for purposes of recreational or competitive participation in a sport (Green et al. 1998; Hudson, 2003). The constant worldwide increase in participants in the sport of surfing as well as the evolving of the sport to professional status (Livermore, 2009), combined with easily accessible travel opportunities and the sport’s nature of interaction with coastal environments and reach into new coastal environments resulted in a rapid increase in commercial surf tourism of significant economic proportions (O’Brien et al. 2013; Lazarów, 2007; Fluker, 2003; Buckley, 2002a; Buckley, 2002b; Dolnicar etai. 2003a; Dolnicar et al. 2003b). The size and economic value of the global surf tourism industry is estimated to amount to $250 million. This number however does not take into account economies of the most popular surfing destinations in developing countries in Southeast Asia (Barbieri et al. 2013). This niche tourism has grown to be regarded as a significant segment of the worldwide sport and adventure tourism sector of sufficient economic, social and environmental implications to draw academic attention, generating a growing body of literature focusing on the economic implications for surfing destinations in Indonesia such as Bali, รท Lanka, the Mentawais and other Indo-Pacific Islands as the best known and highest-volume destinations for surf tourism. Research in this field assesses demographics of the surfing population and travel behaviour for marketing and management purposes to help the development and general enhancement of those surfing destinations. Findings reveal that the surf tourist is no longer a backpacker in search for new and good waves, but is in fact a cash rich but time poor tourist relying on surf tour operators and infrastructure to coordinate travel arrangements and find quality waves (Warshaw, 2005; Towner, 2014; Buckley, 2002a; Buckley, 2002b; Dolnicar et al. 2003a; Dolnicar et al. 2003b; Ponting, 2008; Ponting, 2009; Tantamjarik, 2004; Barbieri et al. 2013; Martin et al. 2013). With surf tourism being a significant aspect to tourism development in Southeast Asian economies, the present study looks at the niche segment in the wider context of the tourism industry and its susceptibility to external shocks and resulting damage to destinations (Baker et al. 2007; Beirman, 2003; Maditinos et al. 2008; Institute For Economics & Peace, 2014).

Tourism in the wider context

Tourism is widely defined as a social, cultural and economic phenomenon comprising the movement of people to destinations entailing localities beyond their usual vicinity for personal or professional purposes (World Tourism Organization, 2015; Maditinos et al. 2008). The tourism industry has been subject to globalisation and immense growth on an international scale, resulting in an increase in interconnectivity within the tourism system and with Asia being the region experiencing the most rapid dynamic growth (Maditinos et al. 2008). Consequently, tourism has significant repercussions on economies, the natural as well as the built environment and the local population of destinations (World Tourism Organization, 2015; Maditinos et al. 2008). The economic impact of the travel and tourism industry worldwide amounted to a total of $7.58trn in 2014, providing a direct contribution to the global Grand Domestic Product (GDP) of $2,155.4bn (2.9% of the total global GDP) and is predicted to rise by 4.2% per annum until 2024, and as of now is directly generating over 100,894,000 jobs globally (3.4% of total employment worldwide) (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2014).

Since the demand for travel is susceptible to shocks and events beyond managerial control such as natural disasters and disease in the form of epidemics, the tourism industry is regarded as a fragile construct entailing a wider range of potential human swayed threats as a result of globalisation processes such as economic fluctuations, currency instability, political instability, energy crises and increasingly occurring terrorism (Baker et al. 2007; Beirman, 2003; Maditinos et al. 2008; Institute For Economics & Peace, 2014). The latter presents a phenomenon that appears to have a special relationship with tourism (Sönmez et al. 1998)

The relationship between terrorism and tourism

International terrorism describes activities executed in order to intimidate audiences different to the victims (Ruby, 2003). These activities involve intended violent acts that are dangerous to human life, designed to influence an international governmental organisation or intimidate the public for advancing political, religious, racial or ideological causes (Hoffman, 2002; Kondrasuk, 2005; Security Service MI5, 2015). The means of intimidation or coercion of a civilian population or governmental policies occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the targeted country or transcend national boundaries (The Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2015). As a result of globalisation, western economic values and beliefs of liberal democracies are increasingly colliding with economies of the developing world, provoking intense resentment towards what appears to be perceived as an imposing culture (Shih, 2002; Knight et al. 2003; van der Veer et al. 2004; Korstanje et al. 2012). Before the year 2000 it was predominantly ideologically motivated terrorism in form of secular ethnic- or nationalist separatist terror organisations that were associated with the majority of terrorist attacks worldwide. The number regarding these incidents has remained relatively stable over the years while numbers relating to religious extremism have grown. (Hoffman, 2007; Institute For Economics & Peace, 2014).

The relationship between terrorism and international tourism has been subject to numerous investigations and various research approaches in a vast body of literature. Looking at just a few examples depicted in the literature assessing terrorism’s effect on global tourism from 1980 to today such as the 1986 attack in Paris, the pipe-bomb attack in Tel Aviv 1990 (Pizam et al. 2000), the killing of 58 tourists in Egypt 1997 (Pizam et al. 2000; Cousins et al. 2002) as well as the major 9/11 attack on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon killing an estimated 6000 people (Goodrich, 2002; Beirman, 2003; Arana et al. 2008; Bonham et al. 2006) followed by the Bali bombings in 2002 (Baker et al. 2007; Henderson, 2003) and 2005 (Baker et al. 2007; Hitchcock et al. 2007) claiming another 200 tourist lives implicates ล unique (Sönmez et al. 1998), even symbiotic relationship between terrorism and tourism (Richter et al. 1986; Feichtinger et al. 2001).

Terrorism uses international tourism and its industry as an effective tool for communicating messages across international borders (Sönmez et al. 1998; Cousins et al. 2002). With tourism representing capitalism and consumerism, attacks on tourists denote ideological opposition to values of western culture (Ryan, 1993; Lepp et al. 2003; Korstanje et al. 2012). Terrorism poses a significant challenge to the strength of the tourism industry worldwide, as tourism figures follow the activity of terrorist actions since these are perceived as a potential risk and therefore affect travellers’ destination choices and travel patterns (Sönmez et al. 1998; Lepp et al. 2003; Feichtinger et al. 2001; Korstanje et al. 2012), causing tourism demand to potentially constantly decrease and forcing an affected destination’s tourism industry to stagnate (Pizam et al. 2002; Frey et al. 2004; Fletcher et al. 2008).

Enders et al. (1991) suggest this link to be a unidirectional causality in which terrorism affects tourism but not vice versa. Flowever, according to Richter et al. (1986) and Feichtinger et al. (2001) this link can be interpreted as a symbiotic relationship. Findings suggest a cyclical system interlinking these two phenomena in which there is a low number of tourists and terrorists to be found in a country as a zero point. The government invests in tourism to improve it’s domestic economy, which attracts terrorist activity to reduce the effects of tourism investments, resulting in a decline of tourism numbers and therefore a decline in attractiveness for terrorist activity, returning the cyclical system to the zero point (Feichtinger et al. 2001). Furthermore, in light of globalisation processes the link between these two phenomena was investigated by Drakos et al. (2001), highlighting the susceptibility of the relationship regarding significant regional contagion effects of terrorist activity in Greece, Israel and Turkey. The findings of their study exhibit that countries benefit from their neighbour’s problems. In this study higher levels of terrorist activity in Greece were found to be associated with the increase in relative market shares of Israel in the region. Simultaneously, terrorism in Israel fostered the market share of Turkey.

Another repercussion of globalisation processes is the increased interconnectedness through various forms of media outlets such as print, visual, audio and even more so the internet’s electronic platforms. During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, the Palestinian attack on Israeli athletes left eleven people dead and exposed a global television audience of 800 million to terrorism (Lepp et al. 2003). Terrorism is essentially a message of objectives that need to be communicated through action and discourse. The media and its sensationalist tradition therefore plays a key role in mass communication, political communication as well as visual communication on a global scale (Matusitz, 2013; Ross, 2007; Cousins et al. 2002; Weimann et al. 1994; Korstanje et al. 2012). Using the media tool, tourism plays the role of a soft target for terrorist activity (Paraskevas et al. 2007). It provides an opportunity to generate an impact on targeted economies disproportional to the small amount of resources deployed, in fact, media coverage appears to be the main channel enabling terrorism to produce economic damage (Melnick et al. 2006; Korstanje et al. 2012).

The effect of terrorism on the tourism industry and destinations’ economies

In regards to the mentioned aspects of globalisation and motivations behind terror attacks on the tourism industry, the most depicted event in recent literature are the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on November 9, 2001, marking an era-defining milestone of terrorism executed halfway around the world enabled by globalisation processes, interdependence and products of western technological development in form of interconnectedness, particularly efficient mass-transport and the media tool (Maditinos et al. 2008; Korstanje et al. 2012). The military and security measures implemented by the บ.ร. post 9/11 amounted to approximately $3.2 trillion, which contributed to the budget deficit that is posing a major challenge to the บ.ร. economy today, while it is estimated that it only took $500,000 for Al-Quaeda to carry out the attacks (Korstanje et al. 2012). Mass media coverage of the events immensely affected travel and tourism sectors worldwide. The attacks were followed by an increase in security costs imposed on airports and airlines while the demand for travel declined, resulting in 6.8% fewer international tourist visits to the บ.ร. in the same year compared to years before, and the numbers of the year 2000 did not return until 2003, causing airline operators such as United, Delta and US Airways to file for bankruptcy protection between 2002 and 2005 (Korstanje et al. 2012). The Carribean suffered from a drop in tourist visits of 13.5%, resulting in a temporary loss of 365,000 jobs (Korstanje et al. 2012). The fallout of the New York attacks directly impacted tourist economies halfway across the globe, causing a shock to tourist utilities in the Mediterranean (Arana et al. 2008), even reached into various sectors beyond the tourism industry and for example forced the cancellation of major sporting events such as the Surfing World Championship Tour, which was called off by the Association of Surfing Professionals after American pro surfers decided to not travel to Europe after New york had been attacked (BBC, 2001).

The media’s key role in wake of the 9/11 events significantly influenced the perception of terrorism as a risk, drastically changed image profiles of destinations around the world (Arana et al. 2008; Korstanje et al. 2012) and implemented a shift of perceived regions of risk to be predominantly associated with non-Western areas of the globe, particularly the Middle East or West Asia respectively, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, most of these regions hosting a large if not predominantly Muslim population (Bankoff, 2003; van der Veer et al. 2004). Research conducted by Ahlfeldt et al. (2009) regarding risk perception among German tourists in light of the 9/11 events and the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings showed that Muslim tourist destinations suffered a tremendous decline in attractiveness. The findings by Ahlfeldt et al. (2009) suggest, in strong accordance with findings from a variety of other sources in the literature (Bankoff, 2003; Marranci, 2004; van der Veer et al. 2004; Lewis, 2005), that the generalised perception of risk had propagated beyond the บ.ร. to the entire western hemisphere, generalising all Muslim countries to be the source of the risk and that distinctions are in fact no longer made between terrorist and civilian, but between bad Muslim and good Muslim (Mamdani, 2002). This process is generally described as anchoring, a cognitive bias during decision making, causing individuals to use an initial piece of information or value to make subsequent judgements and make estimates around or away from the initial information or value which is referred to as the anchor, which is then adjusted to yield the final answer (Tversky etai. 1974).

With Asia being the region experiencing the fastest economic growth in tourism development (Maditinos et al. 2008) and Southeast Asia hosting 62% of the world’s Muslim population (Suryadinata et al. 2003; Weintraub, 2011), a great amount of research literature investigating the link between terrorism and tourism focuses on the rise of political Islam as a global issue and resistance to globalisation in wake of the terrorist attacks post 9/11 and political unrest in Southeast Asia, with particular emphasis on the region of Indonesia (Shih, 2002; Suryadinata et al. 2003; Weintraub, 2011; Hitchcock et al. 2007). Indonesia hosts 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population, which makes it the largest Muslim population in a country (Suryadinata et al. 2003; Weintraub, 2011; Ananta et al. 2015). The region has experienced 90 incidents of terrorist bomb attacks between 1997 and 2002 alone (Pusponegoro, 2003; Harsawaskita et al. 2007; Hitchcock et al. 2007), as well as a series of suicide bombings due to political unrest during the civil war in รท Lanka from 1983 to 2009 (Stone, 2011; Ramasubramanian, 2004). Just over a year after the 9/11 attacks in New York, Indonesia suffered from a tourism crisis after a bomb attack on October 12, 2002 in Kuta, Bali, carried out by the radical Islamist group Jemaah Islamiyah which is part of Al-Quaeda’s Asia network (Harsawaskita et al. 2007). Claiming the lives of over 200 people, most of them foreign tourists and injuring several hundreds more, the bombings resulted in a collateral crisis to the Balinese economy and neighbouring countries such as Java and Lombok (Beirman, 2003; Pambudi et al. 2008; Henderson, 2003). Bali is over reliant on tourism, accounting for a quarter of international tourism to Indonesia, which also makes up over half of the Island’s income (Pambudi et al. 2008; Baker et al. 2007). Tourist arrivals to Bali dropped from 150,747 in September 2002 to 31,497 in November of the same year. After the Indonesian government invested $200 million into the promotion of Bali as a tourist destination, visitor numbers peaked at 1.5 million in 2004, a number that collapsed after a series of bombings killed 23 people in Kuta and Jumbaran on October 2, 2005 (Pambudi et al. 2008).


Regarded as the world’s most wave-enriched nation, Indonesia presents itself as a much preferred destination for cash rich but time poor surf tourists looking for world class waves (Warshaw, 2005; Buckley, 2002a; Buckley, 2002b; Towner, 2014). On Bali alone there are 33 identified surf spots, followed by Sumatra which has 18 identified surf spots, and even more are found along Java, Lombok, and the Mentawai Islands. The majority of surfers come from Australia, Europe and the United States (Warshaw, 2005; Towner, 2014). A review of the literature revealed a very recent and growing body of research focusing on surf tourism as a global and relatively new emerging, yet already well established and constantly growing niche market in the tourism industry holding economic, social and environmental value of significant proportions to destinations worldwide. The present study aims to add to this body of literature by placing surf tourism in the wider context of international tourism and its susceptibilities to external shocks and focuses its attention on terrorism, a phenomenon uniquely linked to tourism, using it as means to communicate messages across international borders and cause major economic damage beyond managerial control to destinations that rely heavily on tourism (Melnick et al. 2006; Korstanje et al. 2012). The link between tourism and terrorism has been subject to investigations in a vast amount of literature focusing on the general context of tourism, however, the present study intends to be a first investigation of the terrorism-tourism link regarding the niche market of surf tourism due to the sport’s strong connection to coastal environments in Indonesia where terrorism has been an issue for decades (Harsawaskita et al. 2007), and because the sport with it’s entailing properties serves as a highly significant and valuable contributor to Indonesian economies.( Barbieri et al. 2013; Martin et al. 2013; Warshaw, 2005; Towner, 2014; Buckley, 2002a; Buckley, 2002b; Dolnicar et al. 2003a; Dolnicar er al. 2003b; Ponting, 2008; Ponting, 2009; Tantamjarik, 2004).

In light of recent events such as the religiously motivated mass shooting in Sousse, Tunisia, killing 30 British tourists, the aircraft bombing of the Metrojet Flight 7K9268 on October 31st 2015 in Egypt as well as the coordinated terror attacks in Paris on 13th of November 2015 in connection to the continuous threat represented by the Islamic state (BBC, 2015), this study constitutes a topical approach and aims to provide a psychographic insight on surf tourist characteristics by assessing Interest, Attitude and Opinion (IAO) variables regarding the perceived risk of potential political or religious threats in the form of terrorism, hypothesising that surfers depend too much on the criterion of high quality waves as cash rich and time poor tourists to perceive terrorism as a potential risk influencing their choice of destination or travel plans.


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Susceptibilities of the Tourism Industry. The Effect of Terrorism on commercial Surf Tourism
University of Plymouth  (Cornwall College Newquay (in partnership with UoP))
Marine Sports Science (BSc Hons)
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Tourism, Terrorism, Surf, Surfing, Surf Tourism, Sport, Sport Science, Marine Science, Economic impact, Behavioural Psychology
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Esteban Hack (Author), 2016, Susceptibilities of the Tourism Industry. The Effect of Terrorism on commercial Surf Tourism, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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