TERRORISM AND CIVIL UNREST IMPACT ON TOURIST DESTINATION IMAGE: CASE STUDY NIGERIA
Tourism industry is one of the major sectors of the economy of Nigeria. Any factors that affect the industry, therefore, raise concerns among scholars, government, investors and any other parties that may be interested in the affairs of the industry. Destination image is one of the major factors that determine whether tourists will visit a particular area or not. Three major pull factors have been identified as the major elements that have influenced the positive destination image of the people about Nigeria. 57% of respondents of the interview conducted in this research identified these factors as exotic culture, tropical weather and a beautiful landscape that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Despite the good performance of the Industry, terrorism and civil unrest have been identified as major cause failure due to the influence of these factors on the destination image of Nigeria. For instance in 2005, after terrorist attacks the country, performance in the industry reduced significantly but recovery took place very fast. This implies that effects of terrorism on destination image are short term. Civil unrest that hit the country in 2011 during the revolution that led to the end of the reign of Mubarak posed a major challenge in the tourism industry. The research found that it will take the country a significant period of time to reach the level of visitors that travelled to Nigeria every year before the unrest. This implies that civil unrest contributes significantly to development of a bad destination image in the mind of potential tourists.
1.1 Background Information
Tourism acts as one of the most economically impactful industries in the world as it generates trillions of dollars every year and contributes to the growth and development of dozens of economies (Ardahaey, 2011). It facilitates development in almost every other industry and contributes greatly in the creation of employment opportunities for millions of people. The developing world relies heavily on tourism as a primary source of income for its people as well as an initiator of development in infrastructure, labour markets, the entire hospitality industry, science and technology and education among many other aspects of growth.
There are various social, economic, and political factors that influence the growth of the tourism industry, both natural and man-made. Negative impacts on tourism, regardless of the nature of the cause, has become everybody’s concern as it affects life at national, global, organizational, familial and personal levels. The recent terrorist activities that have ensued, both in the developing and the developed world, have become an area of research interest, and their ramifications on the tourism industry are important to precisely establish.
In light of the existing literature and the need to conduct an empirical study with regard to the topic of this study, the key aim is to establish the precise ramifications of terrorism activities on the tourism industry and some of the approaches that could be used in reversing these ramifications.
This study focuses on the accomplishment of three key objectives:
To unearth the various ways in which terrorism affects the tourism industry
To establish the specific impacts that terrorism has had on tourism in Nigeria
To establish possible solutions for the negative impacts of terrorism on the tourism industry
In recent years, the world has become increasingly aware of the terrorist activities that have been taking place and their impacts on the lives of people as well as the social, economic, and political stability of nations. The negative impacts of terrorism in the world can no longer be underestimated and their understanding has never been more important than it has become, especially after the world became aware of what happened in the United States on September 11, 2001. Terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of many people destroying property worth millions of dollars (Drakos & Kutan, 2003). Industries have been decimated and countries have cautioned their citizens against visiting terrorism destinations that have been associated with terrorism, which harms the entire industry.
Having established the level of awareness that has been created and the increasing concern on the impacts of terrorism, the issues affecting the future of the tourism industry needs to be resolved by all means necessary. This resolution can only begin with the understanding of just precisely how terrorism impacts on tourism, with particular attention of Nigeria, which has been one of the most vulnerable destinations. Considered as one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, Nigeria needs to be studied, both in terms of existing literature as well as empirically.
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