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Tourism and international terrorism: a cartographic approach

Daniel Dory
Traduction de Daniel Dory
Cet article est une traduction de :
Tourisme et terrorisme international : une approche cartographique [fr]

Résumé

Tourism and tourists are under the permanent threat of terrorism, with enormous potential consequences. Three maps give a new perspective over this problem, focusing on the national identity of the victims and the diverse impacts of terrorism on tourist activities.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

1Terrorism represents a permanent thread to tourists and touristical infrastructures. Even if the attacks against tourists are relatively unfrequent, their human, mediatic and economic impacts are often very important. The following figure permits to appreciate the permanent character of the relation between tourism and terrorism. It represents the frequency of the incidents registrated in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) for the years 1970-2019:

Figure 1: Temporal distribution of terrorist acts against tourists or touristic infrastructures.

Figure 1: Temporal distribution of terrorist acts against tourists or touristic infrastructures.

GTD, realization: H. Théry

2We notice that there are almost no years without an attack against touristic targets somewhere in the world, in relation with local or global conflicts. But, despite this reality, contacts between specialists of tourism and specialized academics in the field of terrorism studies (Dory, 2020b) are only episodic in the best of the cases; and there are few publications about tourism in the available literature concerning terrorism. Given those circumstances, and in order to full partially this gap, an additional research has been undertaken, complementing a previous paper framing a geopolitical approach of the tourism/terrorism nexus (Dory, 2020a). This contribution deals specifically with the exploration of the cartographic methods for a better understanding of the vectorial identity of some victims of terrorism, and the general impacts of terrorism on tourism. Before that, a short survey of the state of the art about this topic is necessary.

I. The geographic approach of the relations between tourism and terrorism

  • 1 But, even so, the quality of the results is not granted, as the case of Guidère’s Atlas (2017) demo (...)

3Geographical research on terrorism is both recent (Baghat; Medina, 2013; Medina; Hepner, 2013; Dory, 2019; 2020b; Théry; Dory, 2021a), and mainly focused on the places and types of attacks, the territoriality of the actors and the characteristics of the different spaces affected by terrorist acts (for example : Nunn, 2007 ; Webb ; Cutter, 2009 ; Walther ; Retaillé, 2010 ; Théry; Dory, 2021b). The production of the cartographic support for this work does not present any particular difficulties (point phenomena and / or choropleth maps to account for the differential intensity of a variable on a given surface)1. This research focus has also benefited from the increasing use of GIS (Guo et al., 2007; Medina et al., 2011; Eisman et al., 2017, Farrell et al., 2019). On the other hand, if we move from the analysis of the terrorist act itself (Dory, 2017a) to the study of the attacks according to the identity of the victims, and more particularly their discrimination according to the "nationality" variable, we are entering a hitherto unexplored ground.

  • 2 For example, Enders and Sandler (2002, p. 148) write: « When an incident is planned in one country (...)
  • 3 See: Dory, 2019.

4However, the defining characteristic of so-called “international” or “transnational” terrorism consists precisely in the fact that the actors (and / or sponsors) of the terrorist act have a different nationality from that of the country where they operate, and / or that of their victims2. It follows, therefore, that the identification of victims according to their nationality is one of the criteria for characterizing this form of terrorism. Additionally, if we differentiate three major types of identity among the victims of political violence, this point acquires a major importance. In fact, we can distinguish victims according to their personal identity (a king, president, minister, or any other person considered harmful or odious) being the subject of a political assassination; a functional identity (members of a government, the Police or the Army, etc.) most often the target of guerrilla operations; and a vectorial identity, which makes the victim (and his suffering) the medium of a message that the terrorist actor wants to transmit to different audiences: (governments, supporters of the cause, enemies and competitors, etc. )3. From this perspective, it is easy to understand that the nationality of the victims constitutes an important, even decisive, element of their vectorial capacity.

5To deepen this problem, it is interesting to resort (also) to research concerning cartographic representations that make it possible to effectively describe and visualize the transnational aspect of terrorist acts based on the national identities of the victims. Attempt, to our knowledge, never yet carried out in the specialized literature. To anchor the reflection in a controllable empirical universe, we will focus our remarks on the impacts of terrorism on a globalized activity sector par excellence: international tourism, whose relationship with terrorism, already quite long and sometimes spectacular, has been the subject of several studies (Richter; Waugh, 1986; Baker, 2014; Lutz; Lutz, 2018; Dory, 2020a). Taking the (international) tourist as the subject of this research allows also a better understanding of the conditions of the activation of a specially efficient vectorial identity. In that sense, we can say that the foreign tourist is a kind of «ideal» victim for a terrorist action conceived as a technique of violent communication. Because in this case the terrorist’s act (and cause) can expect a strong media impact, otherwise impossible to reach if they kill citizens of the host country, specially when it’s in a remote locality scarcely covered by the global mainstream media.

6To achieve a satisfactory representation of the purest transnational events, we will first look at attacks that specifically target tourists and where, consequently, there is a direct impact of terrorism on tourism. We will then compare this type of attack with those which, without targeting tourists in particular, nevertheless have an induced impact on tourism, because they occur in places (airports, airplanes, restaurants, public transport in tourist towns, etc.) also frequented by tourists. Finally, a contextual impact (on the country’s image and / or of a region or tourist site) occurs following attacks which, without affecting tourism as such, more or less permanently affect the reputation of a tourist destination.

II. Terrorist attacks with a direct impact on tourism (and tourists)

7To visualize this category of terrorist acts, we have chosen to represent the following attacks which are the most deadly directly targeting tourists between 2002 and 2018. They are:

8● Bali, (October 12, 2002), more than 200 dead, including 152 foreigners.

9● Tunisia: Bardo Museum, (March 18, 2015), 21 foreign tourists and a Tunisian policeman killed; beach near Sousse, (June 26, 2015), 38 foreigners dead.

10● Sinai, (October 31, 2015), 217 dead.

  • 4 The main sources used for the elaboration of the maps are : Global Terrorism Database, maintained i (...)

11Figure 2 first makes it possible to distinguish the share (in real figures) of local deaths in each case, then to perceive the wide distribution of fatal victims according to their nationality4. This map, which summarizes the four attacks also shows slight variations from the Balinese case, undoubtedly the one whose structure is the most theoretically representative, if not of all the similar attacks, in any case of those which correspond best to the intentions of terrorist actors working for maximum media coverage of their act, and therefore of their cause. We chose to merge the two attacks that occurred in Tunisia because of their temporal proximity, their similarity in terms of the choice of targets and (above all) because of the common organizational attachment of the actors. The concentration of victims in terms of nationality of the in-flight explosion of the Russian Metrojet charter over the Sinai Peninsula is obviously explained by the nature of the target, and by the terrorists' intention to specifically strike the Russia to punish her for her participation in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria.

Figure 2: The three deadliest terrorist attacks targeting tourists (2002-2018)

Figure 2: The three deadliest terrorist attacks targeting tourists (2002-2018)

III. Attacks with an induced impact on tourism

12Three attacks that took place in 2016 make it possible to map this type of terrorist act. These are two cases where airports were targeted, either alone (Istanbul) or during a multi-site operation (Brussels); as well as a ram truck attack in a densely frequented public space (Nice):

13● Brussels, Zaventem airport; Maelbeek metro, (March 22, 2016), 16 + 16 = 32 dead.

14● Istanbul, airport, (June 28, 2016), 45 dead.

15● Nice, Promenade des Anglais, (July 14, 2016), 86 dead.

Figure 3: Three terrorist attacks with induced impact on tourism in 2016

Figure 3: Three terrorist attacks with induced impact on tourism in 2016

16The map of Figure 3 shows both a certain similarity with the resulting configuration of the previous category, and a clear difference relating to the much higher proportion of local victims. In the case of Nice, for reasons of simplicity, the multiplier effect due to cases of binationality has been neglected.

IV. Attacks with a contextual impact on tourism

17Regarding this category of terrorist acts, which only indirectly affect tourism insofar as they occur in countries or regions which are also tourist destinations, two series of attacks perpetrated in 2017 were taken into account. For Europe, we have retained the cases which resulted in the death of a minimum of 10 people:

18● Saint Petersburg, metro, (April 3, 2017), 15 dead.

19● Manchester, concert hall, (May 22, 2017), 22 dead.

20● Barcelona and Cambrils, multisite attack, (August 17 and 18, 2017), 15 + 1 = 16 dead.

  • 5 The Global Terrorism Database used for the élaboration of the GTI include, as terrorist actions, se (...)

21For the rest of the world, we have retained the three most deadly (undoubtedly terrorist)5 attacks listed in the Global Terrorism Index 2018 (p. 81).

22● Mogadishu, (January 14, 2017), 588 dead (approximately).

23● Sehwan, Pakistan, (February 16, 2017), 91 dead (approximately).

24● Bir al-Abed, Sinai, (November 24, 2017), 311 dead (approximately).

25These six attacks, which occur in various geopolitical contexts, but all stem from jihadist Islamism, are designed to primarily affect local power relations. This peculiarity is clearly manifested in the national identity of the victims, as represented by the map in figure 4.

Figure 4. Six attacks with (possible) contextual impacts on tourism in 2017

Figure 4. Six attacks with (possible) contextual impacts on tourism in 2017

Conclusion

26The three maps presented in this note allow us to explore a hitherto neglected theme in geographical research on terrorism, namely that of the national identity of victims of attacks. To achieve this, we have chosen to represent terrorist acts with direct, induced and contextual impacts on international tourism, insofar as this particularly sensitive sector offers a privileged field of observation for the understanding of the logics inherent in transnational terrorism. Finally, the selected cartographic options made it possible to obtain simple, easily readable and comparable maps.

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Bibliographie

Baghat, K., Medina, R. (2013), “An Overview of Geographical Perspectives and Approaches in Terrorism Research”, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 7, N° 1, pp. 38-72.

Baker, D. (2014), « The Effects of Terrorism on the Travel and Tourism Industry », International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage, Vol. 2, N° 1, pp. 58-67.

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Dory, D. (2017b), Compte rendu de : Mathieu Guidère, « Atlas du terrorisme islamiste. D’Al Qaïda à Daech », L’Espace Politique, (en ligne), https://journals.openedition.org/espacepolitique/4055

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Note de fin

1 But, even so, the quality of the results is not granted, as the case of Guidère’s Atlas (2017) demonstrates. See : Dory (2017b).

2 For example, Enders and Sandler (2002, p. 148) write: « When an incident is planned in one country but executed in another, it is a transnational event. The kidnapping or assassination of a citizen from another country in a host country is a transnational terrorist act, as is a bombing directed at one or more foreign citizens… ». Even if not specific enough, this quotation discriminates well the main characteristics of international terrorism.

3 See: Dory, 2019.

4 The main sources used for the elaboration of the maps are : Global Terrorism Database, maintained in the University of Maryland, (www.start.umd.edu); the french journal DSI (Défense & Sécurité Internationale) ; Global Terrorism Index 2018, Institute for Economics & Peace, Sidney, (www.economicsandpeace.org); Mickolus, Edward (2018), Terrorism Worldwide 2016, McFarland, Jefferson ; Mickolus, Edward (2018), Terrorism Worldwide 2017, McFarland, Jefferson ; Guidère, Mathieu (2017), Atlas du terrorisme islamiste, Autrement, Paris. The exact amount of letal victims is often difficult to establish, and the amount of injured persons is almost impossible to count, because injured persons can die in the days or weeks following the attack, and a lot of them don’t search help in places where they can be registered. In our maps the dead terrorists are not counted as victims.

5 The Global Terrorism Database used for the élaboration of the GTI include, as terrorist actions, several mass-murders (realized by ISIS in Syria, for example), or diverse attacks made by groups considered as « terrorist » in the context of an insurgency or a civil war. In order to select « real » terrorist actions we included in the map, after screening GTI’s list, only the cases where no doubt existed.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Temporal distribution of terrorist acts against tourists or touristic infrastructures.
Crédits GTD, realization: H. Théry
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/7243/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 209k
Titre Figure 2: The three deadliest terrorist attacks targeting tourists (2002-2018)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/7243/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,8M
Titre Figure 3: Three terrorist attacks with induced impact on tourism in 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/7243/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre Figure 4. Six attacks with (possible) contextual impacts on tourism in 2017
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/7243/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,8M
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Référence électronique

Daniel Dory, « Tourism and international terrorism: a cartographic approach », Via [En ligne], 19 | 2021, mis en ligne le 26 juillet 2021, consulté le 27 octobre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/7243 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/viatourism.7243

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Auteur

Daniel Dory

Associate professor, La Rochelle University

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Traducteur

Daniel Dory

Associate professor, La Rochelle University

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Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Via Tourism Review est mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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