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Political instability and its effects on Tourism


Political instability and its effects on Tourism Sarah JR Ryu CRC PhD Scholar Victoria University Melbourne Australia Abstract According to Poirier (2000) tourism ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political instability and its effects on Tourism

Political instability and its effects on Tourism
Sarah JR RyuCRC PhD ScholarVictoria
  • According to Poirier (2000) tourism today is
    second only to oil as the worlds leading export
    commodity, accounting for global earnings of more
    than 300 billion, or nearly 25 per cent of total
    world GNP. Over the last two decades, tourism has
    proved to be the worlds fastest growing economic
    sector, with average growth of 7.1 per cent per
    year in arrivals and 12.5 per cent in receipts.
    Despite these statistics, tourism growth in many
    countries has not been this high, in particular
    those countries confronted with various political
    instabilities that have caused to retard
    development in tourism.

This paper will examine
  • How tourism can be used as a tool for political
    and ideological goals.
  • How tourism reform occurs in industries within
    politically troubled nations.
  • How tourism can be moulded by the political

  • Political stability and political relations
    influences the image of destinations in
    tourist-generating regions (Hall and
  • Media portrayal books, magazines, newspapers,
    satellite and cable links has a substantial
  • Examples of political strife that cause
    problematic concerns in the attraction of
    visitors are
  • Warfare
  • coups
  • political strikes or protests
  • Any evidence of domestic turmoil is likely to
    result in a decision not to visit that country.
    Ankomah and Crompton (1990, p19)

What is Political Instability?
  • Political instability is described as a
    condition of a country where a government has
    been toppled, or is controlled by factions
    following a coup, or where basic functional
    pre-requisites for social-order control and
    maintenance are unstable and periodically
    disrupted (Cook 1990).
  • Multifaceted and complex character
  • Impact in various countries worldwide is
    multilevel and multidimensional.

Relationship between politics and tourism
  • The political aspects of tourism are interwoven
    with its economic consequencestourism is not
    only a continuation of politics but an integral
    part of the worlds political economy. In short,
    tourism is, or can be, a tool used not only for
    economic but for political means (Edgell, 1990).

The Reasons Behind the Neglect
  • Unwillingness on the part of many decision makers
    both in government and in the private sector to
    acknowledge the political nature of tourism.
  • Lack of official interest in conducting research
    into the politics of tourism.
  • Tourism not regarded as a serious scholarly
  • Tourism is by now too important and a pervasive
    activity for governments to ignore. (Hughes

Has tourism been affected by political
instability? Effects of Political violence
  • China - Tiananmen Square, June 4 1989
  • Prime time news coverage showed army tanks
    threatening the civilian population.
  • After the the Tianamen Square incident Hotel
    occupancy rates in Beijing dipped below 30 per
  • Tourism earnings declined by 430 million in 1989

Effects of Military Coups
  • Fiji - 1987 As a result of a mainly non-Fijian
    government being elected.
  • Two military coups occurred within four months.
  • Qantas imposed a two-month ban on flights to
    Fiji, following the hijacking attempt of an Air
    New Zealand Boeing 747.
  • Travel Insurance cover was withdrawn after
    negative Australian government travel advice.

Effects of Revolutions
  • Ejtrcito Zapatista de Liberacion National (EZLN)
    initiated an armed rebellion against the Mexican
  • The revolution resulted in 145 to 500 deaths
    (figures vary depending on the source).
  • 1994 visitation to Mexico
  • dropped by 70 per cent.

Effects of Civil War
  • Yugoslavia 1991, Army attacks Slovenia
  • Conflict continued for 10 days before moving to
  • Croatia in 1991, and Bosnia-Herzegovina in1992
  • Tour operators for Yugoslavia lost over one
    million bookings in 1991
  • Two years after the war, figures for Slovenian
    tourism are still far behind pre-war figures.

Effects of Civil War
Sub Saharan Africa 
  • Zimbabwe (formerly southern Rhodesia) was the
    scene of a fifteen years Liberation War of
    Attrition between Africans and white settlers.
  • The most extensive of Sub-Saharan colonial wars
    was fought in Angola,
  • Mozambique and Guinea Bissau . Nigeria had five
    successful coups since gaining independence in
    the 1960
  • In total, more than 20 major wars have taken
    place on the sub-Saharan region of Africa since
    the 1960s (Ankomah and Crompton 1990, p19).

Effects of Civil War
  • IPRA targets included senior British government
    officials, British military and police
  • Visitor arrivals fell from a 1967 peak of
    1,080,000 to 321,000 in 1976
  • Ceasefire which began on August 31 1994 was
    observed until February 9 1996 when a bomb
    exploded in London killing two bystanders and
    injuring 43 people
  • 18-month cease-fire recorded a 59 per cent
    increase (from previous year) in inquiries, 11
    per cent increase in hotel occupancy, 18 per cent
    increase with out-of-state visitors, and a 68 per
    cent increase in holiday visitors.

Effects of Terrorism
  • Turkey 1974, PKK Seeks to Establish
    Southeastern Marxist State
  • Kurdistan Workers Party specifically targeted
    Turkeys tourism industry between 1991 and 1996.
  • Bombed tourist sites, hotels and kidnapped
    foreign tourists.
  • Foreign visitor arrivals dropped eight per cent
    from 1992-1993
  • After self-imposed ceasefire, international
    arrivals reached record levels (9.5 million) in

Effects of Terrorism
  • Peru Formation of Maoist Terrorist Group
  • Aim of replacing existing Peruvian institutions
    with a peasant revolutionary regime.
  • Attacks led to a steep decline in tourism from
    350,000 international visitors in 1989 to 33,000
    in 1991.

Effects of Terrorism
  • Egypt Late 1970s, Islamic Extremist Group
  • Egyptian Islamic extremist group works toward
    establishing an Islamic state
  • Specifically targeted and launched attacks
    against Egypts tourism industry since 1992.
  • Egypt removed from programs of international tour
  • Experienced a 22 per cent drop in international
    visitors, 30 per cent drop in tourist nights and
    43 per cent decrease in tourism receipts.

Effects of Terrorism
The First Gulf War, 1990 Massive impact on
tourist visitation to the Middle East Broader
impact on international tourism because of
potential for terrorist attacks
Effects of Political Instability
  • North and South Korea
  • Shooting down of South Korean civilian airliner
    in 1980.
  • South Korean student protests.

Ongoing political instability in North and
South Korea.
Summer Olympics (1988) was used to refute the
idea of Korea as a dangerous place to visit.
Tourism as a Political Objective Arab and
Israeli ideology
  • So far, Tourism has been passively affected by
    political events
  • The direct involvement of tourism in the battle
    of political ideology
  • The ongoing conflict Israel v Palestine
  • Not only economical and street conflict, but
    political competition (Kobi, 2004)
  • Israel promotion of own image through tourism,
    stimulate Zionist view of Palestine
  • Palestine Promotion of a distinctly
    Arab-oriented image of Israel

Tourism as Political Tool
  • Promotional vehicle to convey a positive image or
    as a sanction against others.
  • Massive tourism program after election of Marcos
    in Philippines.
  • Use of tourist arrivals as a form of
    legitimisation for the regime.
  • Manipulating tourism development to benefit
    Marcos supporters

Tourism for Political Objectives the backlash
  • Bombing attempt on Marcos at 1980 American
    Society of Travel Agents Conference.
  • Bombing attempt resulted in a dramatic reduction
    in tourist visitation from the USA.
  • Misuse of tourist infrastructure caused
    spill-over effects such as enormous inflation,
    housing shortages, energy and water shortages,
    and mass prostitution.

  • Western governments issue regular travel
    advisories for their citizens warning them of
    risks in travelling to certain destinations.
  • Governments can and do exert political pressure
    through tourism and use it as a promotional
    vehicle to convey a positive image or as a
    sanction against unfriendly countries.
  • The tourist may take into account the perceived
    risk of travelling to destinations that receive
    government warnings, and therefore choose not to
    travel or may alter the travel destination..

  • Political instability and war can increase the
    perception of risk at a destination
  • Political instability generates negative
    publicity, which results in an inevitable
    decrease in tourist arrivals
  • Risk perception can influence tourist
    decision-making and destinations can be severely
  • Policymakers from tourism destination countries
    need to be aware of how political instability is

Despite the considerable body of evidence on the
effects of political instability on both tourism
income and potential for negative social and
cultural outcomes, tourism management courses do
not include any serious discussion of
international politics and its influence on
tourism. This paper, which is part of an ongoing
research into risk management in tourism,
attempts to address that by discussing the ways
in which the political nature of tourism can be
incorporated into tourism management subjects,
particularly at postgraduate level.
Thank you!
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