Types Of Tourist Terrorism

The Urban Dictionary classifies definitions of tourist terrorism into three categories. The first is “tourist harassment”, which refers to deriding tourists for any of their actions, such as their lack of respect for local environment, or local customs. The second is “tourist theft”. And the third is tourist anger, which refers to a genuine hatred of tourists for entering one’s own country or area. This anger may be directed against certain groups of tourists according to ethnicity or religion etc, and the acts could be extremely violent. It’s long been common for travellers to be warned of the second category (eg, pickpocketing, being overcharged). However, in recent times, they are increasingly being warned about the third category. This year started with warnings about possible attacks in Nairobi, where the authorities were in conflict with Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab militants. This warning was soon followed by one from the US embassy in Thailand about a “real and very credible” threat of a terrorist attack against American citizens in Bangkok, possibly by Lebanese terrorists associated with the Hezbollah group.

Impact Of Violent Tourist Terrorism On Local Community

Tourists can always find more peaceful places to visit. The sad thing is that many poor areas, which also happen to be common targets for terrorist activity, do depend on the tourist industry for their economy, and it is the local community that suffers most from the impact of terrorist activity against tourists. With poverty, unemployment, homelessness come crime and other social ills.

The impact of a depressed tourist industry is not just on the industries associated with the tourism. A depressed tourist industry hinders intercultural exchange and an understanding of and harmony with other communities, and as such could foster conflict. The trouble is that intercultural exchange is just what some terrorists want to stop. Islamic extremists, who want to impose a strong Islamic culture in their area, resent the entry of foreigners who might dilute or pollute their culture, and they believe that violent jihad against civilians is a legitimate expression of Islam.

Think About It

What can be done to prevent tourist terrorism and the knock-on effects of having depressed and isolated communities? Would strengthening the law against terrorism be the solution? Or is it warfare against the terrorists? What can be done to moderate the thinking of terrorists? Where and how are these people being recruited and groomed for terrorist activity?

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