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Terrorism is the new normal for tourism destinations, as the acts of terror that are performed in tourism zones ensure maximum international media coverage for such acts…
Terrorism is the new normal for tourism destinations, as the acts of terror that are performed in tourism zones ensure maximum international media coverage for such acts of terror. The frequency of acts of terror has led to the development of crisis resistant tourists, a segment of tourists that continue tourism consumption even when acts of terrorism occur. The tourism industry is negatively impacted by crises, but it has proved to be resilient, bouncing back from a temporary decline. Crisis resistant tourists have increased the robustness of tourist destinations, as almost all destinations have jumped on the tourism bandwagon. Increasingly, countries depend on the tourism industry for economic growth, economic diversification, labour-intensive jobs and attracting foreign exchange, and therefore acts of terrorism can be regarded as economic espionage. African countries still receive less than 10% of international tourism receipts, as the majority of tourism occurs between developed countries in the West. As a consequence, developing countries benefit disproportionally less from tourism. The growth rate for African tourism has exceeded global growth averages and has been included in economic development policies in many African countries.
Terrorism in Kenya's tourism industry has had an adverse impact on tourism numbers and perception about destination Kenya. Several acts of terrorism have capacitated Kenya with institutional memory on how to handle acts of terrorism on Kenya's tourism industry. Kenya is arguably one of the leading countries in tourism in the African continent alongside South Africa, Egypt and Mauritius. In addition, Kenya Airways has used the national airport in Nairobi as a growing aviation hub connecting Africa with the world. As one of Africa's top tourist destinations, Kenya has to address the issue of terrorism. The perceptions of foreign tourists, including Kenyans, are that the country is not safe anymore. As recent as early 2019, another terrorism attack took place in Kenya. This continued to strain an industry that is already under siege. It needs to be borne in mind that a country of Kenya's calibre cannot afford to lose tourists. This is because tourism plays a significant role in enhancing the livelihood of ordinary Kenyans. Additionally, it plays a pivotal role in the country's economy. Kenya provides an example of a destination country which has been able to mitigate the effects of terrorism in the tourism industry. The Atlantic Island of St. Helena, a British Overseas territory, recently constructed an airport in Jamestown to boost trade and specifically tourism to the island, to alleviate financial support from Britain to the island. The island is an unexploited dark tourism destination, as the site of freed slaves after the abolition of the Atlantic Slave trade, the exile site for Napoleon and Zulu Royalty Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and an overseas concentration camp for the Boers after the Anglo-Boer War. The opening of the airport has created the necessary infrastructure to attract tourists to the island, and the unique selling point of the island is that it is the last outpost of British Imperialism. The island would need to exploit its dark tourism potential by appealing to the British, the South Africans and specifically heritage tourists, due to its unique offering.