Assessment: Worldmaking Practices in and Through Tourism

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Worldmaking Practices in and Through Tourism

Many people think about tourism as simply vacations and good times, without really considering the impact that tourism has on locales and on the world environment. However, tourism is about much more than providing entertainment for visitors. Tourism is far more powerful than it seems at first glance. It can help in worldmaking, since tourism can be an effective, strong, and pervasive producer of political meanings of locality (Hollinshead 2009). As a result, tourism can have a positive impact on a local environment and bring global attention to local issues or problems in a way that is positive for the local environment. However, it would be unrealistic to suggest that tourism only provides a positive impact on local people or environments.

"The progressive promises of tourism fail when people's access to power is limited through restrictions of glass, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, nationality, age and sexuality" (Swain 2009). In fact, the entire business of travel and tourism often marginalizes the very people it is intended to liberate. For example, the "tourist encounter is always potentially problematic, being at the same time both full or promise but also having the potential to not meet that promise" (Tucker 2009). When one looks at travel writing, one sees how tourism can marginalize these different groups, because they contain, "geographical imaginings told from a particular viewpoint, in a particular time, to a particular audience" (Johnson 2010). While people have been marginalizing vulnerable populations for a long time, many times the impact of that marginalization was strictly localized, because it was not part of the global environment. "It is very unlikely that without tourism such effects would have been created but tourism is curiously also something we take very much for granted and its origins and early worldmaking beginnings are also scarcely identified" (Jamal & Robinson 2009).

One of the ways that tourism interacts with the broader world is through terrorism. In many ways, terrorism impacts the ability and desire of people to travel to different locations. However, it is worth noting that in some ways the tourism encourages terrorism. Many people look at tourism as something positive, but it can and does have negative impacts on the visited environments. In fact, tourism can play several different roles. First, it has the capacity to serve as a form of surveillance that might totalize particular visions of the world. Second, it has a capacity to inventively generate whole knowledges about places and space. Third, it has the capacity to articulate the health and living conditions of interest groups and institutions in a particular society. Tourism can stand as a fulcrum for organizations that may be manufacturing realities for a locality. Tourism also interacts with other forms of mobility, as a symbol of globalization (Hollinshead et al. 2009). Understanding how these various aspects of tourism interact with the global phenomenon of terrorism will help explain the relationship between terrorism and tourism.

Discussion

"Terrorist attacks represent a specific form of tourism crises, because usually the destinations are hit unprepared" (Aschauer 2010). This means that tourists do not generally have any warning that an attack might occur. Moreover, travel to and from the location may be impacted for some time following the attack, impacting the ability of the tourists to return home after an attack. Moreover, the graphic nature of Terrorist attacks results in tourists and potential tourists associating loss and destruction with the area. This results in a loss in an immediate loss in demand that can have a significant duration, which impacts the tourism industry to the area (Aschauer 2010).

Even though most tourists are logically aware that their danger from a terrorist attack is actually somewhat minimal, tourists do not appear to respond logically to the possibility of a terrorist attack. Instead, they respond in a visceral manner, so that the psychological impact of the terrorist attack is more crucial to tourism demands than any immediate economic impact. In the wake of a terrorist attack, tourist values change from openness to conservation, which causes tourists to place an emphasis on tradition and security (Aschauer 2010). This results in security concerns becoming a primary consideration when determining vacation destinations. The lower a person's desire to take a risk, the less likely that person is to be open to other cultures or to engage in intercultural communication efforts. There is a weak connection between risk taking and security feelings, which underlies the idea that people may seek new sensations but still wish to avoid those destinations that they feel, are vulnerable to criminality or terrorism (Aschauer 2010). The reality seems to be that tourists have a sufficient number of destinations in which they can engage in risk taking behavior without risking their personal security to allow tourists to avoid those locales which they perceive to be legitimately dangerous.

O'Connor, Stafford, and Gallagher examined the impact of global terrorism on Ireland's tourism industry in the wake of 9-11. What they found was that terrorism has had a negative effect on the travel industry, and that its negative impact on the travel industry is greater than the impact it has had on any other industry (O' Connor et al. 2008). In fact, terrorism may specifically target tourism in a way that it does not target other industries. One of the basic objectives of a terrorist attack is to instill fear, which threatens basic security and safety needs. Unless one has met those needs for safety and security, higher needs, like self-fulfillment, are unimportant to the individual (O' Connor et al. 2008). What is most interesting is that the fear of terrorism is largely an irrational one. Regardless of one's location, the "chances of being killed as a result of terrorist activity are very small" (O'Connor et al. 2008). Moreover, while the overall consequences to a society as a result of terrorist activity may be relatively small, tourism receives a disproportionate brunt of the economic fallout of terrorist activity. This is due, in part, to the fact that "tourism is highly perishable and services cannot be stored and sold at another time- one the time passes the opportunity for the sale is lost" (O'Connor et al. 2008). However, the impact of terrorism is not as significant as the impact of war or internal conflict, because terrorism is frequently seen as an isolated incident, or even a series of isolated incidents, rather than an ongoing uncertainty (O' Connor et al. 2008). However, when terrorist attacks target tourists, the impact of those attacks on the tourist industry is exacerbated.

One of the important factors to keep in mind is that the concept of the world is changing. This relationship works in two directions; the impact of local actions on the world as a whole, and the impact of world actions on a local area. Rather than a huge globe with distinct areas and interests, the idea of the world has come to be replaced by the idea of the global village. Tourism has played a role in this concept of the world. The "tourism industry has been a symbol of recreation, global integration and economic prosperity of a nation" (Ahmed, 2011). However, terrorist activities had a negative impact on tourism. Interestingly enough, terrorist activities impacted tourism most significantly after 9/11 despite the fact that global terrorism did not significantly increase after that point in time. This is particularly true of areas like Pakistan, which, despite its tremendous attractions, has suffered as a tourist destination. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Pakistan is associated with terrorism because of perceived government inaction in the wake of terrorism and even the suggestion that the Pakistani government has somehow been complicit in terrorist attacks. Therefore, global terrorism could impact tourism rates in Pakistan even if Pakistan were not, itself, an area vulnerable to terrorist activity, because of the perception that Pakistan somehow supports terrorist activity.

Factors that Contribute to the Impact of Terrorism on Tourism

While the above researchers have focused on the impact that terrorism has on tourism, it is critical to keep in mind that the relationship between terrorism and tourism is bi-directional. Not only does terrorism have an impact on tourism rates, but local tourism can also impact rates of terrorism, not only locally, but globally. Returning to some of the discussion in the introduction, it is important to keep in mind that not all interactions between tourists and locals are positive. In fact, tourism is so frequently viewed as a positive for local areas, but the objective evidence does not support the idea of tourism as an unrestrained positive. Instead, those attitudes "often belie the extent to which tourism can be implicated in the appropriation, enclosure and degradation of resources upon which local peoples depend upon for their survival, and/or ignore the conditions of radical insecurity which afflicts the populations of destination zones" (Bianchi 2007). In other words, one of the results of tourism may be to reinforce the idea of tourists, particularly Western tourists,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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