Travel in the age of Terror
With the hugely upsetting news breaking that the loss of the Egypt Air flight from Paris to Cairo is likely to be the result of a terrorist attack, questions again turn to the safety of travellers and holiday-makers in this age of terror.
I know lots of people, friends and family who are actively avoiding certain destinations due to the high risks associated and it’s made me question just how safe is any destination in this current climate? After all MI5 have the terror threat level for London set to severe meaning a terror attack is highly likely but this hasn’t stopped those same friends and family going into London for day trips or night outs.
So what’s the difference?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit two of the so called ‘most at risk’ areas and found both to be fantastic destinations and ones I would love to return to. Tunisia was the first ever trip my now Husband and I took together so I have fond memories of the country and Egypt is home to some of the best diving in the World in my opinion. The Red Sea reefs and wrecks surpass any other destination I have ever dived in and I have always said any child of mine would learn to dive in it’s calm, warm waters so do want to return.
But when looking for where to go this Summer, these two destinations much to my upset and disappointment in myself were struck off our list in favour of other ‘safer’ and more ‘stable’ destinations. But what’s to say something won’t happen in Lanzarote or Croatia or any of the other destinations holiday-makers have booked instead of the usually popular haunts of Egypt, Tunisia and now Turkey.
Unfortunately these events can’t be predicted, they are in their name and nature ‘an act of terror’ designed to strike fear and anxiety amongst the general population. The terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels were perhaps so shocking because they were outside what we have considered to be the ‘risk-zone’, but a simple yet staggering search on the Internet highlights the increase in terrorist in the last 5 years many of which go unreported as they are already in areas we associate with this activity. Just last month, on April 19th the Taliban were responsible for their largest attack on an urban area since 2001, killing 64 people in Kabul, Afghanistan and wounding a further 347. This wasn’t mainstream news, it didn’t appear on the rolling news channels like the downing of a tourist plane, or the bombing of an airport or concert hall in Europe. The news and reality is still just as awful but it wasn’t seen by the mainstream press in the same way.
Paris, Brussels, Tunisia and the other countries where tourism is a huge economy drive become the news when a terrorist attack happens because it makes us question whether we would travel there again. They now become a risk to weigh up.
I was saddened but not entirely shocked to hear on the news today that Eurostar’s profits have dropped because of the events in Paris and Brussels, and it’s already well documented that travel operators have seen a huge drop off in holidays to Egypt and Turkey with many cancelling packages to Tunisia all together. Many holiday-makers are not prepared to take the risk and this is entirely their prerogative to do so, as I’ve said myself I too have weighed up travel destinations based on safety this year and will probably continue to do so for the for-seeable future especially as I start my own family.
It greatly upsets me that the terrorists have won to some extent, they’ve ruined not only the lives of those directly involved but many more that have been affected by the decrease in tourism. Our favourite dive destination Dahab was already facing low visitor numbers in 2012 and I dread to think of how all the different businesses are coping there now.
We can’t escape the fact that travel in the age of terror has changed, we all welcome (as much as it sometimes annoys us) increased security changes and vigilance on the ground but it’s now unfortunately inevitable that destinations themselves will come into question when booking a trip as much as we’d like them not to.
Many people will say we can’t let them win, it’s such a small risk and you’re more likely to be run over by a car and I in some ways I do agree. I don’t want the fear and threat of terrorism to stop me from doing what I want to do but it’s with a heavy heart that I do admit that travel in the age of terror will make me re-think and re-assess my future travel plans.
Do you agree with my views? Or do you think we should continue to travel despite government warnings? Would you take the risk?