Terrorism and the Tourist Industry

In lieu of the unfortunate Manchester attack, I wanted to take some time to look at a problem that both the United States and the World is facing: terrorism. It’s a terrible thing that’s unfortunately becoming more and more common over the years. Every month there seems to be a new, “I am –” that’s tweeted out as people all over social media try to pay their respects to whatever country or city has fallen victim to a new attack.

Terrorism has many implications. Its aftermath is grave and broad. It has no limits. It instills fear, not just for a few days, but for weeks, months, and even years. Take France, for example. After the beginning of its attacks in 2015, tourism at some of Paris’ most iconic places (The Arc de Triomphe, The Grand Palais, the Chateau de Versailles) decreased significantly. We’re talking by about thirty-five, forty-four and sixteen percent, respective decrease in visits. For a city like Paris that thrives of the tourism industry, attacks can have a huge negative impact on their economy. Thus, companies in the tourist industry here in Paris, and elsewhere, must constantly navigate around the fear and absence that these attacks bring.

Pondering this myself, I wonder what does a company like Theatre in Paris, who thrives off tourists, do to tackle this issue of terrorism? How do you make someone feel less scared or more safe when going to a theatre (a place that seems to be under attack in many recent terroristic acts)? Is the best option to do nothing? Tackle it head on? A combination of both? To be honest, I’m not quite sure I have the answer.

However, whatever the answer may be, working in the “real-world” has allowed me to realize that “real-world” events have “real-world” implications. Does this seem redundant and obvious? Yes, but I guess what I’m trying to state is that it’s amazing how relevant everything can be, especially in a global industry. It may be a terroristic attack or it could simply mean any political event happening world-wide. It’s important to stay informed and know how anything and everything could affect your industry.

What I’ve also realized, though, is that even knowing everything does not mean that you can prepare or prevent anything. For example, is there anything a company really can do to encourage people to come to an event after a terrorist attack? Sure, you can maybe give discounts and offer really cool things, but at the end of the day, some still won’t show. Maybe the French pessimism is affecting me more than I anticipated, but this reality came as sort of a shock to me.

Thinking more optimistically, though, I think the best answer I can offer now is simple: show people the French way of life and enjoy everything. In the presence of an attack, maybe the best thing a French company in the tourism industry can do is boast and encourage its customers to live the happy and care-free way that everyone lives here every day.

On the other hand, maybe this solution is too simple. Perhaps it would work, perhaps it wouldn’t. Either way, c’est la vie.