Je suis paris

Will terrorism affect the way we travel?

The news and debates are laden with topics on terrorist attacks in Paris. Few also talk about the lesser known attacks in Beirut, Lebanon, the hostages in Radisson Blu hotel in Mali, and the shooting of Russian passenger aircraft over Egypt. These attacks come in when the memories of hostage crisis in the cafe in Sydney – Australia, and shooting in a school in Pakistan are still fresh. One thing is common – most these destinations are flocked by travellers all around the year with Paris being on the top of the charts. An obvious question that arises is will there be effect of terrorism on travel?

Rather than giving an answer to this question, I want to leave it open for your opinion. This is irrespective of whether you are an occasional or a frequent traveller.

Will religion create an opinion?

Let’s be straight. World is divided over whether Islam is directly breeding terrorism. While some believe that it is not and are strongly advocating it, others think the opposite. According to CNN, 31 states in US have closed their borders for Syrian immigrants because they are Muslims.

When we travel, we meet people of all race and religions. Sometimes, we don’t even know the religion of the person we are talking to. Will it matter from now on? While every immigrant may not be a terrorist, is it too inhuman for those 31 states to close their borders because they are not sure of who is who?

Is religion cause of terrorism?

The past trends:

According to BBC News, terrorist attacks in the past have only been able to temporarily affect tourism. Destinations like Tunisia and Bali have seen surge in tourism even after the attacks in 2002 and 2005. See: Statistics – Bali Tourism Office. How big do you think are the chances of you being caught in another Russian flight being targeted by terrorists? I still believe that the effect of terrorism on travel will not be that grave.

Will you trust a stranger?

The very basic charm of travelling is meeting people from all over the world. You end up having the deepest conversations with those whom you met over a coffee or a drink. You make new friends while travelling, you party, live and spend most of your time travelling with strangers while on the road. I have taken years to go beyond my barrier of comfortably talking to total strangers irrespective of their race or nationality. Travelling around the world has helped me a lot in it. Will the latest incidents of terrorism affect your decision to trust a stranger?

What do we do as travellers?

We believe that travel and travellers make the world a better place by exchange of cultures, conversations and love. If that is the case, we seem to be not going at a pace fast enough. What else can we do?

Lighting candles. Is that all we can do?

Candles
Condolence candles and flowers | Image source: www [dot] pbs [dot] org

The social media hoopla:

The world together said – ‘Je suis Paris’ (I am Paris) and painted itself in Red, White and Blue colours to show their stand for Paris. The social media came up with debates on why it wasn’t Je suis Beirut or Je suis Kenya. We travellers are some of the biggest users of social media. We use it extensively to share our experiences and thoughts from across the world. As travellers, are we responsible users of social media? The effect of terrorism on travel can be boosted or minimised by responsible use of social media by us.

Do you think that social media has become an open toilet where anyone and everyone can relieve himself? While the pain of those in Beirut or Kenya is no less than those in Paris, are we moving towards raising criticism one way or the other? The world stood with Pakistan after the attacks on its school. Are we becoming dissatisfied and complain makers no matter what?

Is social media becoming a public toilet?

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Feature image: Flickr Blog

Gaurav Bhatnagar

Software Engineer turned Travel Writer, Photographer, and Public Speaker on Responsible Travel. Entrepreneur in Responsible Rural Travel @ www.thefolktales.com
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