Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

The Influence of Airport Security Procedures on the Intention to Re-Travel

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

The Influence of Airport Security Procedures on the Intention to Re-Travel

Article excerpt

Introduction

Tourism is the most susceptible industry to numerous terrorism threats and other criminal acts. The number of total terrorist incidents in the world has been doubled in the last ten years from 4805 in 2008 to 10900 in 2017 (Global Terrorism Database, 2018). Tourism has suffered from frequent terrorist's attacks (e.g., attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 2001), wars (e.g., Iraq 2003), and political instability (e.g., Tunisia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain), which adversely impacted tourism performance, and contributed to some uncertainty, some hesitation, and the increase of doubtful perception of different destinations (Al-Saad & Ababneh, 2017). According to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index, the contribution of the tourism industry to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is twice as large in a county that has not suffered recently from terrorist attacks (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2016). Due to the perseverance and diversity in the implementation of the terrorist attacks, air transportation system has increasingly become more vulnerable for terrorist attacks than other systems, however, airport security must also adapt in line to protect the aviation industry and increase air passengers' safety. Consequently, demand for high-level security standards over the past two decades has witnessed a noticeable increase.

In response to such terrorist attacks, many countries modified their regulations and tightened significantly airport security procedures. Routinely, all passengers and flight crews are subject to standardized security procedures, which include baggage X-ray, body X-ray, metal detector scan, and passport control. In the wake of 11 September 2001 attacks, security procedures have become much stricter all over the world. For instance, on 19 November 2001, the United States Congress enacted the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), which mandated several important changes in civil aviation security procedures (Blalock et al. 2007). Such changes and amendments came as a response to high elevated risks. O'Malley (2006) indicated that security procedures have become more commonplace when there are elevated risks or suspicious behaviours like perspiration or fidgeting. They might include bodily pat-downs, bag searches and explosive trace detection scans (as cited in AlardsTomalin, 2014), as well as sniffing passengers by dogs and inspecting the contents of their laptops and cameras.

In some suspicious cases, passengers are singled out based on name, nationality, race, religion, ethnicity or physical appearance and subject them to an extreme vetting process and very long interrogation. After the appearance of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and its continuous terrorist attacks on different places around the world, some countries started to consider racial profiling as part of the counterterrorism plans. For example, on 27 July 2017, Executive Order 13769, titled 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States', has been signed to deny visitors from 6 Muslim countries from entering the United States for 120 days (The New York Times, 2017). Halter (2002) found that Arab Americans, people of Middle Eastern descent, and Muslims are being targeted for more tightened security measures at airports. Furthermore, according to a USA Today-Gallup Poll (2006), Americans favour more tightened security measures with Muslims. Nearly more than one third, 31%, expressed that they would feel nervous if they see a Muslim flying on the same flight as themselves (Saad, 2006).

The relationship between airport security and travel and tourism industry is considered recently one of the most important areas for research. "Concerns for safety and security remain an important issue for the travel and tourism industry" is one of the ten important world tourism issues for 2018 (Edgell, 2018). Although airport security procedures and racial profiling enhanced the safety of passengers worldwide, they have made passengers feel uncomfortable, especially those suspected or targeted based on a stereotype on their ethnicity or race. …

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