After the tragic events of the last few weeks it is tourism once again that is the industry to suffer most. It highlights the fickle nature of the business and brings home it’s importance especially when you live on a small island that relies on it.
First of all here’s a quick overview (apologies but it’s needed for context)
1. March 2015 – terrorists attack the Bardo National Museum in the Tunisian capital city of Tunis with 22 deaths, mostly European tourists.
2. June 2015 – a lone gunman murders 38 tourists in Sousse, Tunisia; 30 of which are British. The hotel is targeted to undermine tourism and because they are considered ‘brothels’ by ISIS.
3. October 2015 – Metrojet flight 7K268 from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg explodes over the Sinai desert killing all 224 on board, 219 are Russian.
4. November 2015 – the terrible events in Paris unfold with 129 innocent people murdered in cold blood and which need no further detail here.
All this tragic loss of life plus a catastrophic effect on the tourist industries of Egypt and Tunisia which rely on foreign currency. It has also undermined the security measures of these gateways, something from which they may never recover.
In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks the companies hit hardest on the stock market were TUI (down 4.1%), British Airways/Iberia owners IAG (down 2.8%) and Thomas Cook (down 4.8%) proving that confidence in travel is the first thing to wane after any terrorist attacks. They will most likely recover as time passes but it shows the fragility of the market in general and it’s constant need to find new destinations and products.
As we have seen after previous incidents the world will keep turning and statistically it’s still the safest time in history to travel. These days people are made of stern stuff and have relatively short memories so the North African disasters will only open up opportunities for other destinations such as the Canary Islands, Cyprus and Malta for those wanting a little winter sun. Even Ibiza might ‘benefit’ from tourists wanting to stay a little closer to home, especially as more winter flights are coming in and 2016 will see Ryanair setting up a ‘base’ on the island.
So in the big scheme of things where does all this leave Ibiza, the ‘party island’ only 2 hours flight away from London? Regardless of whether we can supply the demand for short haul winter city breaks, Ibiza will do what it’s always done: Carry on!
So as our elected politicians talk about a tourist tax and a change of the ‘touristic model’ the events over the last 12 months should, if nothing else, hammer home our island’s 100% reliance on tourism and the fact that we need to cherish it with humility and not take it for granted.
As other destinations have discovered to their cost it can be taken away from you all too easily.