In March, Islamic State attackers bombed the Brussels airport and subway, killing 32 people. Since then, hotels, restaurants, and tourism in general have suffered the biggest losses as travelers and tourists began to stay away from Belgium.
The loss of revenue in these sectors also had a negative impact on the entertainment industry as concerts, carnivals, and sporting events were canceled. The New York Times reports that last week, the government of Belgium announced a loss of about €1 billion in business and tax revenue to its economy.
France, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, and even the UK have not been spared by the Islamic State attackers, who reportedly find pleasure in organizing simultaneous attacks in different European countries and cities.
All these acts of terror are now scaring travelers from coming to the largest economies in Europe, particularly Western Europe. “There is now a high level of uncertainty in Europe,” says one analyst, “because you can’t tell which European city or country that ISIS will attack next.”
He adds: “This uncertainty is very bad for the economy. People, especially tourists, won’t visit any European location if they feel that they won’t be safe there. It is simply common sense that the European economy will suffer as a result of all these terrorist attacks by radical Islamists.”
Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa, which are among Europe’s largest air carriers, are now skeptical about their profit forecasts for the year because repeated terrorist attacks in Europe are stopping tourists and business people from traveling.
Even the European luxury industry is reportedly feeling the heat because of its dependence on foreign tourists, especially from Asia, for sales. Exclusive brands like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Prada have noticed a drastic fall in sales since tourists who like to spend money are no longer coming.
However, it is said that one man’s poison is another man’s food. Worried travelers and tourists are said to be considering “safer zones in Europe” like Scandinavia, Spain, Greece, and even some countries in Africa.
This has led some African economic analysts to assert that African countries can take advantage of the effects of terrorism in Europe to boost their economies.
Temi Temofeh, an economist, says: “African countries can woo travelers and tourists who are scared of going to Europe. Yes, they can actually woo these travelers and tourists so that they can visit attractive locations in Africa and find the same satisfaction they would have found in visiting European locations.”
“The fact is that there are African countries like Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, and Nigeria with attractive destinations that can offer a viable alternative for travelers and tourists who are afraid to go to certain European cities or countries like Paris and Germany. We need to get our act together in Africa so that we can begin to attract these tourists right away and boost our economy.”
Those conversant with African destinations will agree that Africa has many tourist destinations that are powerful enough to divert the attention of travelers and tourists from Europe to Africa.
Andrew Nkemna, a hotel manager in Lagos, Nigeria, calls on African countries to renew their strategies aimed at increasing revenue from hotels:
“Now is the time for African states to refocus their travel and tourism policies and re-strategize. Embassies of African countries overseas can also help by issuing fast or express visas with incentives to travelers and tourists wishing to come to Africa. African airlines can also help by providing cheap and direct flights to top African destinations.”
Top tourist destinations or attractions in Africa include Victoria Falls, Mount Kilimanjaro, Obudu Mountain Resort, Ogbunike Cave, Olumo Rock, Udi Hills, Oguta Lake, Bar Beach Lagos, Azumini Blue River, Yankari Game Reserve, Awhum Waterfall, Table Mountain, Robben Island, Maasai Mara, Nairobi National Park, Atlas Mountains, Lake Malawi, and others too numerous to mention.
After a moment of reflection on the bad economies of many African countries, Nkemna adds, “If only African countries can seize the moment, Africa’s economy will benefit immensely from travelers and tourists, especially Asians and Arabs, who presently find it unsafe to visit top destinations in Europe as a result of terror attacks.”