International Terrorism and International Tourism

Publication Type:

Book Chapter


The Dangerous Landscape, p.211-219 (2013)


When people are concerned about terrorism they prefer simple answers so that they can decide for themselves “Will I be next?” or “Will I be safe?” Complex answers are not welcome, perhaps because we are not good at handling complexity just as we are not good at estimating probabilities of risks. While we live in risk societies, our assessment of risks is often intuitive and primitive. The risk of being killed in a terrorist attack aboard an American aircraft, for instance, is only one in 25 Million – fifty times smaller than being killed in any given year by lightning. We develop models to reduce the complexity of the world to something we can mentally handle. Yet we should not mix up models of reality with the reality itself. When we look at Terrorism and Tourism we look at two phenomena that are complex in their own right and even more so when put together. Tourism can refer to religious tourism, heritage tourism, sport and adventure tourism, recreational tourism, mass tourism, eco-tourism and many more varieties. Terrorism can refer to religious terrorism, ethno-nationalist terrorism, left- or right wing terrorism, lone wolf or solo terrorism, narco-terrorism, single issue terrorism, vigilante terrorism, regime terrorism and more. On top of that, terrorism is often confused with other forms of political violence, ranging from sabotage and arson to violent demonstrations and assassination.